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ERIC Number: ED513538
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jun
Pages: 41
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 33
Citizen Perceptions of Government Service Quality: Evidence from Public Schools. Program on Education Policy and Governance Working Papers Series. PEPG 10-16
Chingos, Matthew M.; Henderson, Michael; West, Martin R.
Program on Education Policy and Governance, Harvard University
Conventional models of democratic accountability hinge on citizens' ability to evaluate government performance accurately, yet there is little evidence on the degree to which citizen perceptions of the quality of government services correspond to actual service quality. Using nationally representative survey data, we find that citizens' perceptions of the quality of specific public schools reflect publicly available information about the level of student achievement in those schools. The relationship between actual and perceived school quality is two to three times stronger for parents of school-age children, who have the most contact with schools and arguably the strongest incentive to be informed. However, this relationship does not differ by homeowner status or by respondents' race, ethnicity, income, or education. A regression discontinuity analysis of an oversample of Florida residents confirms that public accountability systems can have a causal effect on citizen perceptions of service quality. The appendix section includes the following tables: (1) Relationship Between School Characteristics and Respondents' School Ratings, Marginal Effects from Ordered Probit Models; (2) Descriptive Statistics, By Whether Respondent Identified Local Elementary and Middle Schools; and (3) Relationship Between Schools' Demographic Characteristics and Respondents' Ratings, by Respondent Characteristics. (Contains 11 tables, 1 figure, and 17 footnotes.)
Program on Education Policy and Governance. Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government, 79 John F. Kennedy Street, Taubman 304, Cambridge, MA 02138. Tel: 617-495-7976; Fax: 617-496-4428; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Harvard University, Program on Education Policy and Governance
Identifiers - Location: Florida; United States
IES Funded: Yes
Grant or Contract Numbers: R305A040043