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Alexis Orellana

Juan Matta, Alexis Orellana.

Do residential neighbors affect each others' schooling choices? We exploit oversubscription lotteries in Chile's centralized school admission system to identify the effect of close neighbors on application and enrollment decisions. A student is 5-7% more likely to rank a high school as their first preference and to attend that school if their closest neighbor attended it the prior year. These effects are stronger among boys and applicants with lower parents' education and prior academic achievement, measured by previous scores in national standardized tests. Lower-achieving applicants are more likely to follow neighbors when their closest neighbor's test scores are higher. A neighbor enrolling in a school with one s.d. higher school effectiveness, peer composition, or school climate induces increases of 0.02-0.04 s.d. in the applicant's attended school. Our findings suggest that targeted policies aimed at increasing information to disadvantaged families have the potential to alleviate these frictions and generate significant multiplier effects.

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Andrew Bacher-Hicks, Olivia L. Chi, Alexis Orellana.

The unprecedented challenges of teaching during COVID-19 prompted fears of a mass exodus from the profession. We examine the extent to which these fears were realized using administrative records of Massachusetts teachers between 2015-16 and 2021-22. Relative to pre-pandemic levels, average turnover rates were similar going into the fall of 2020 but increased by 17 percent going into the fall of 2021. The fall 2021 increases were particularly high among newly hired teachers (31 percent increase), but were lower among Black and Hispanic/Latinx teachers (5 percent increases among both groups). Ethnoracial diversity of new hires increased during the pandemic, in part due to reduced professional licensure requirements. Together, these changes led to small increases in the overall ethnoracial diversity of Massachusetts teachers, but improvements to early-career retention will be needed to ensure long-term stability and diversity within the workforce.

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