School choice: a qualitative exploration of behavioural decision rules involved in parental investment in education

I will be presenting this seminar/paper at Monash University, Melbourne, Thu 4 Sep 2014

School choice: a qualitative exploration of behavioural decision rules involved in parental investment in education

ABSTRACT: This seminar explores the decision architecture used by parents in choosing secondary schools for their children. I describe the preferences, concerns and constraints faced by 22 parents from across public, independent and Catholic school segments in Victoria, Australia, based on face-to-face interviews.  In particular I will focus on the complexity of the decision process faced by parents in choosing a school for their children, the potential for conflict, uncertainty over long time frames, and the diversity of factors influencing and constraining choice.  Latent semantic analysis is used to identify linguistically revealed preferences from the way parents describe their decision processes in the interviews.  Specific economic behaviour observed in the field will be discussed focusing on inter-generational discounting, decision heuristics, joint decision making, signalling and responses to ambiguity risk. The implications of behavioural decision rules and heterogeneous types of economic decision strategies on education policy will be discussed.