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Composite Geographical Context and School Choice Attitudes in Sweden: A Study Based on Individually Defined, Scalable Neighborhoods
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute for Housing and Urban Research.
2014 (English)In: Annals of the Association of American Geographers, ISSN 0004-5608, E-ISSN 1467-8306, Vol. 104, no 4, 869-888 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article contributes both to the expanding literature on the effect of school choice and to the literature focusing on how to measure and conceptualize neighborhood effects. It uses a novel approach to the measurement of geographical context to analyze neighborhood influences on school choice attitudes among Swedish parents. Data on attitudes come from a survey of 3,749 families with children in upper primary school. Geographical context is measured using multi-scalar contextual factors based on socioeconomic indicators for individually defined, bespoke neighborhoods that incorporate from 12 to 12,800 people. The results show that parental motives for choosing schools in Sweden are strongly influenced by the social and ethnic composition of their own and their adjacent neighborhoods. Contrary to most other studies, we find effects of socioeconomic context stronger than the effects of the parents' own social and ethnic background. Thus, parents living in academic, high-income areas put little stress on attending an assigned school, close-to-home schools, or stating that the municipality has influenced their decision. Furthermore, these attitudes become even stronger if nearby neighborhoods are dominated by visible minorities and disadvantaged groups. Supported by Sampson's ideas of coordinated perceptions among inhabitants in the same neighborhoods, we explain these surprisingly strong contextual effects with the idea that school choice motives are especially sensitive to neighbors' ideas and easily influenced as measured preferences in a survey.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 104, no 4, 869-888 p.
Keyword [en]
bespoke neighborhoods, contextual effects, parental decision making, school choice
National Category
Social Sciences Social and Economic Geography
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-230533DOI: 10.1080/00045608.2014.912546ISI: 000338989200010OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-230533DiVA: diva2:740926
Available from: 2014-08-26 Created: 2014-08-26 Last updated: 2014-08-26Bibliographically approved

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Bergsten, Zara
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