School Districting and the Origins of Residential Land Price Inequality

Journal Articles
housing economics

This paper examines how education policy generates residential sorting and changes residential land price inequality within a city. In 1974, Seoul shifted away from an exam based high school admission system, created high school districts and randomly allocated students to schools within each district. Furthermore, the city government relocated South Korea’s then most prestigious high school from the city center to the city periphery in order to reduce central city congestion. I examine how residential land prices change across school districts using a first differenced boundary discontinuity design. By focusing on the immediate years before and after the creation of school districts and using general functional forms in distance, I find that residential land prices increase by about 13% points more on average and by about 26% points across boundaries in the better school district. Furthermore, there is evidence of dynamic sorting whereby the increase in neighborhood income attracts other high schools to relocate in the following years.

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