Who benefits from selective education? Evidence from elite boarding school admissions

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4 Scopus citations


Existing research finds minimal gains from attending elite US secondary schools. This paper estimates the causal effect of attending a selective public boarding school, an institutional model increasingly used by states to serve academically gifted students. Regression discontinuity estimates using multiple admissions thresholds show math score gains and college application and enrollment patterns that shift away from less competitive colleges. Effects are concentrated among minorities, students with lower prior individual achievement, from rural neighborhoods, or lower-achieving sending schools. The opportunity to attend selective boarding schools reduces the tendency of disadvantaged or under-represented students to attend a less selective college by at least one-quarter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101907
JournalEconomics of Education Review
StatePublished - Feb 2020


  • Achievement gap
  • Peer effects
  • STEM education
  • Selective education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Economics and Econometrics


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