Political Responses to Educational Performance Data
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CitationBarrows, Sam George. 2014. Political Responses to Educational Performance Data. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
AbstractResearchers have found considerable evidence that information about school performance affects people's choices about which schools to send their children to and even where to live. In contrast, little attention has been paid to the effects of school performance information on people's political behavior. Yet Hirschman (1970) famously highlighted the importance of taking seriously not only economic forces, but also the role of "political mechanisms", that is, "non-market forces" or "voice", in analyzing people's responses to school performance and the implications of these responses for school outcomes. This dissertation explores the effect of information about student and school performance on people's political attitudes and behavior. I first present findings from an original dataset of school board elections in Florida that indicate that voters fail to punish school board incumbents in response to information signaling poor school performance. There is even evidence that voters sometimes reward incumbents for failure. I next analyze a dataset that links student test scores in England to a subsequent survey, and find that that informational signals about individual student performance can have long−lasting effects on parental behavior. Finally, I analyze the results of a survey experiment administered to a nationally representative sample of Americans, and find that information about the relative performance of local schools depresses average perceptions of local school quality and increases support for school reforms.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:13065019
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