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.