The 11th European Meeting of the Urban Economics Association

Miren Lafourcade attended the 11th European Meeting of the Urban Economics Association, which was held at the London School of Economics and Political Science, on April 29-30, 2022.
She presented her paper entitled “Place-Based Policies: Opportunity for Deprived Schools or Zone-and-Shame Effect?”, co-authored with Manon Garrouste.

Abstract: Even though place-based policies channel large transfers toward low-income urban neighborhoods, the degree to which they provide disadvantaged residents with more opportunities is still a matter of debate. This paper leverages the quasi-natural experiment provided by a French reform that redrew the map of urban neighborhoods eligible for public subsidies on the basis of a local poverty cut-off, to assess the effect of place-based policies on school enrollment into lower secondary education. Results show that district schools located in urban neighborhoods that were designated to benefit from placed-based subsidies experienced a significant drop in pupils’ attendance relative to public schools located in counterfactual neighborhoods lying just above the poverty cut-off, that remained outside the policy coverage. This “zone-and-shame” effect is triggered by behavioral reactions of families from all socioeconomic backgrounds, who shift to public schools located outside the policy zoning. Moreover, we do find partial evidence of a “rich flight” to private schools. Conversely, public schools located in neighborhoods that were disqualified from the program regained pupils’ attendance, at least temporarily, but from disadvantaged families only.

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