School choice and the creation of social capital reexamined

James H. Cox, Christopher Witko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Scholars have argued that by spurring parental involvement in school activities, school choice creates social capital. While government policies may be able to create social capital, we doubt that school choice is such a policy and argue that participation in school activities is largely determined by individual-level attributes and the school context, rather than choice per se. To assess this claim we use the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study data. Unlike most school choice studies, this data set has a large, representative national sample. More importantly, the panel structure of the data allows us to examine the same parents both before and after the school choice decision has been made, permitting a true dynamic analysis. The results demonstrate that actively choosing a child's school does not make parents more likely to participate in school activities. Some institutional attributes of schools do appear to increase parental involvement in school activities, however.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-155
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Journal of Political Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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