Dr. Susanna Loeb from Stanford University completed a talk on entitled "Information, Choice, and Decision-Making: Field Experiments with Adult and Student School Choosers" on Friday November 14th, 2014 for the Curry Research Lectureship Series.
Talk abstract: What families know and believe about the schools available to them can define the behaviors of school choosers and school choice markets. We conducted field experiments with school choosers in Milwaukee, Washington, DC, and Philadelphia. In Milwaukee and DC, randomly selected families received booklets with school information and ratings. We observed that families selecting middle schools in each city tended to enroll their children in higher-rated schools in response to the information treatment, while families selecting high schools in each city tended to enroll their children in lower-rated schools. To examine why these groups responded differently, and to learn more about information’s effects upon more proximate decision-making processes, we conducted an experiment at a Philadelphia high school fair. Randomly selected adult and 7th/8th-grade student attendees received a school information booklet prior to completing a survey. The treatment led adult school choosers to prioritize higher-rated schools, demonstrate increased knowledge of their alternatives, feel more confident in their abilities to choose schools, and prioritize the academic characteristics emphasized in the booklets. The treatment had virtually no effects upon student school choosers. We discuss this adult-student distinction in the context of our observation that students appear deeply involved in choosing their own high schools (after likely being less involved in choosing their own middle schools).
For more information on the Curry Research lectureship Series please visit: http://curry.virginia.edu/research/research-lecture-series