Anna MaklesKerstin Schneider

Free Primary School Choice: How do Parents Decide and Are There Consequences for Segregation?


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North Rhine-Westphalia is the only German federal state in which parents may choose a primary school for their children. The new rule was introduced in 2008/09. We analyze the determinants of choice and the consequences for the schools’ ethnic composition. It turns out that the distance to the assigned school and the transfer rate to the academic track are important factors for explaining school choice. Moreover, we find an increase in school choice activity, but no effect on ethnic segregation. Although ethnic segregation increases over time in some types of communities, the effect appears to be unrelated to abolishing school catchment areas.

primary school choice, school catchment areas, segregation