14th journées Louis-André Gérard-Varet

Font Size: 
Geographical constraints in track choices: a French study using high school openings
Manon Garrouste, Son Thierry Ly, Meryam Zaiem

Last modified: 2015-05-22


In this paper we study the effect of a change in local school supply on pupils’ track choice at the end of lower secondary education. We use high school openings to highlight the constraint local school supply exerts on individual schooling decisions. Our data set covers all pupils enrolled in 9th grade between the school year 2002-2003 and the school year 2011-2012 in mainland France. For those pupils we observe what track they follow in 10th grade. We are able to precisely locate both middle schools and high schools and identify new high schools. Our estimation strategy (a generalized difference in differences) takes advantage of the variation in time and space of the openings of high schools to estimate the causal effect of an increase in school supply on the allocation of pupils at the end of 9th grade. We show that, when a new high school appears in the neighbourhood of a middle school, the proportion of pupils who continue in high school increases significantly. This increase is due to a larger proportion of pupils going to the vocational track.


Education; Track choice; School openings; Difference in differences