Integrating New York City Schools: The Role of Admission Criteria and Family Preferences

Discussion Paper

Clémence Idoux

April 2022

The author uses recent screened-school admission reforms and a structural model to gauge the contribution of admission criteria to segregation in New York City middle schools. A difference-in-differences analysis shows that two local admission reforms decreased school segregation, while prompting changes in application patterns and an increase in white and high-income student exit from the public-school sector. Using a school demand model which allows for strategic application behavior to predict the consequences of hypothetical city-wide reforms, the author estimates that about half of NYC middle school segregation is due to admission criteria, with the rest due to family preferences and residential sorting.