The Role of Awareness, Information Gathering and Processing in School Choice


This paper studies the determinants of school choice, focusing on the role of information. We consider how parents' search efforts and their capacity to process information (i.e., to correctly assess schools) affect the quality of the schools they choose for their children. Using a novel dataset, we are able to identify parents' awareness of schools in their neighborhood and measure their capacity to rank the quality of the school with respect to the official rankings. We find that parents' education and wealth are important factors in determining their level of school awareness and information gathering. Moreover, these search efforts have important consequences in terms of the quality of school choice.