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Vouchers for private schooling in colombia: Evidence from a randomized natural experiment

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  • Joshua Angrist
  • Eric Bettinger
  • Erik Bloom
  • Elizabeth King
  • Michael Kremer

Abstract

Colombia's PACES program provided over 125,000 pupils from poor neighborhoods with vouchers that covered approximately half the cost of private secondary school. Since many vouchers were allocated by lottery, we use differences in outcomes between lottery winners and losers to assess program effects. Three years into the program, lottery winners were 15 percentage points more likely to have attended private school, had completed .1 more years of schooling, and were about 10 percentage points more likely to have finished 8 th grade, primarily because they were less likely to repeat grades. The program did not significantly affect dropout rates. Lottery winners scored .2 standard deviations higher on standardized tests. There is some evidence that winners worked less than losers and were less likely to marry or cohabit as teenagers. On average, lottery winners increased their educational expenditure by about 70% of the value of the voucher. Since winners also worked less, they devoted more total resources to education. Compared to an equivalent expansion of the public education system, the voucher program increased annual government educational expenditure by about $24 per winner. But the costs to the government and to participants were probably much less than the increase in winners' earnings due to greater educational attainment.

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Paper provided by The Field Experiments Website in its series Natural Field Experiments with number 00203.

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Date of creation: 2002
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Handle: RePEc:feb:natura:00203

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  1. Neal, Derek, 1997. "The Effects of Catholic Secondary Schooling on Educational Achievement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 98-123, January.
  2. Angrist, Joshua D., 1997. "Conditional independence in sample selection models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 103-112, February.
  3. Cox, Donald & Jimenez, Emmanuel, 1990. "The relative effectiveness of private and public schools : Evidence from two developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1-2), pages 99-121, November.
  4. Joshua D. Angrist & Guido W. Imbens, 1995. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," NBER Technical Working Papers 0118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Bettinger, Eric P., 2005. "The effect of charter schools on charter students and public schools," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 133-147, April.
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  11. King, Elizabeth M. & Orazem, Peter & Wohlgemuth, Darin, 1999. "Central Mandates and Local Incentives: The Colombia Education Voucher Program," Staff General Research Papers 1708, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  12. Jimenez, Emmanuel & Lockheed, Marlaine E & Paqueo, Vicente, 1991. "The Relative Efficiency of Private and Public Schools in Developing Countries," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 6(2), pages 205-18, July.
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  15. Evans, William N & Schwab, Robert M, 1995. "Finishing High School and Starting College: Do Catholic Schools Make a Difference?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(4), pages 941-74, November.
  16. Jacoby, Hanan G, 1994. "Borrowing Constraints and Progress through School: Evidence from Peru," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(1), pages 151-60, February.
  17. Chamberlain, Gary, 1986. "Asymptotic efficiency in semi-parametric models with censoring," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 189-218, July.
  18. Cecilia Elena Rouse, 1998. "Private School Vouchers And Student Achievement: An Evaluation Of The Milwaukee Parental Choice Program," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(2), pages 553-602, May.
  19. Daniel P. Mayer & Paul E. Peterson & David E. Myers & Christina Clark Tuttle & William G. Howell, 2002. "School Choice in New York City After Three Years: An Evaluation of the School Choice Scholarships Program. Final Report," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 3181, Mathematica Policy Research.
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