Research / Weiss Fund Supported ResearchMay 01, 2017

The Importance of Information Targeting for School Choice

Kehinde F Ajayi, Willa H Friedman, Adrienne M. Lucas
American Economic Review Vol. 107, No. 5, May 2017 (pp. 638-43)

Although school choice programs are common, we know little about the underlying decision-making processes. In this study, we randomly assigned 900 junior high schools in Ghana, a country with universal secondary school choice, to 1 of 3 treatment arms: (1) information to students, (2) information to students and guardians, and (3) control group. We observe changes in beliefs, behaviors, and the decision maker’s identity through a survey of guardians. Our intervention increased the likelihood that guardians were involved with and informed about the school selection process. Moreover, specifically targeting guardians led to significantly larger changes for most outcomes.