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Impact of voucher design on public school performance: evidence from Florida and Milwaukee voucher programs

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  • Rajashri Chakrabarti

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of vouchers in general and voucher design in particular on public school performance. It argues that all voucher programs are not created equal. There are often fundamental differences in voucher designs that affect public school incentives differently and induce different responses from them. It analyzes two voucher programs in the United States. The 1990 Milwaukee experiment can be looked upon as a "voucher shock" program that suddenly made low-income students eligible for vouchers. The 1999 Florida program can be looked upon as a "threat of voucher" program, in which schools getting an "F" grade for the first time are exposed to the threat of vouchers, but do not face vouchers unless and until they get a second "F" within the next three years. In the context of a formal theoretical model, the study argues that the threatened public schools will unambiguously improve under the Florida-type program, and this improvement will exceed that under the Milwaukee-type program. Using school-level scores from Florida and Wisconsin and a difference-in-differences estimation strategy in trends, it then shows that these predictions are validated empirically. These findings are reasonably robust in that they survive sensitivity checks including correcting for mean reversion and a regression discontinuity analysis.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 315.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:315

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Keywords: Educational vouchers ; Education - Economic aspects ; Public schools;

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References

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  1. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1999. "Using Maimonides' Rule To Estimate The Effect Of Class Size On Scholastic Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 533-575, May.
  2. Rajashri Chakrabarti, 2005. "Can Increasing Private School Participation and Monetary Loss in a Voucher Program Affect Public School Performance? Evidence from Milwaukee," Public Economics 0512003, EconWPA.
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  15. Wilbert van der Klaauw, 2002. "Estimating the Effect of Financial Aid Offers on College Enrollment: A Regression-Discontinuity Approach," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(4), pages 1249-1287, November.
  16. Dennis Epple & Richard Romano, 2008. "Educational Vouchers And Cream Skimming," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(4), pages 1395-1435, November.
  17. Rajashri Chakrabarti, 2005. "Do Vouchers Lead to Sorting under Random Private School Selection? Evidence from the Milwaukee Voucher Program," Public Economics 0512004, EconWPA.
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  21. Hoyt, William H. & Lee, Kangoh, 1998. "Educational vouchers, welfare effects, and voting," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 211-228, June.
  22. McMillan, Robert, 2004. "Competition, incentives, and public school productivity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1871-1892, August.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Rajashri Chakrabarti, 2007. "Can increasing private school participation and monetary loss in a voucher program affect public school performance? Evidence from Milwaukee," Staff Reports 300, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  2. Chiang, Hanley, 2009. "How accountability pressure on failing schools affects student achievement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(9-10), pages 1045-1057, October.
  3. Rajashri Chakrabarti, 2011. "Incentives and responses under No Child Left Behind: credible threats and the role of competition," Staff Reports 525, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  4. West, Martin R. & Peterson, Paul E., 2005. "The Efficacy of Choice Threats within School Accountability Systems: Results from Legislatively Induced Experiments," Working Paper Series rwp05-033, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  5. Steven G. Craig & Scott Imberman & Adam Perdue, 2009. "Does It Pay To Get An A? School Resource Allocations In Response To Accountability Ratings," Working Papers 2009-04, Department of Economics, University of Houston.
  6. Rajashri Chakrabarti, 2007. "Vouchers, public school response, and the role of incentives: evidence from Florida," Staff Reports 306, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  7. Jonah Rockoff & Lesley J. Turner, 2010. "Short-Run Impacts of Accountability on School Quality," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 119-47, November.
  8. Brian Gill & J.R. Lockwood III & Francisco Martorell & Claude Messan Setodji & Kevin Booker, 2009. "An Exploratory Analysis of Adequate Yearly Progress, Identification for Improvement, and Student Achievement in Two States and Three Cities," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 6360, Mathematica Policy Research.
  9. Ferreyra, Maria Marta & Liang, Pierre Jinghong, 2012. "Information asymmetry and equilibrium monitoring in education," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 237-254.
  10. Rajashri Chakrabarti, 2011. "Vouchers, responses, and the test-taking population: regression discontinuity evidence from Florida," Staff Reports 486, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  11. Welsch, David M. & Zimmer, David M., 2012. "Do student migrations affect school performance? Evidence from Wisconsin's inter-district public school program," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 195-207.
  12. Rajashri Chakrabarti & Noah Schwartz, 2013. "Unintended consequences of school accountability policies: evidence from Florida and implications for New York," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue May, pages 19-44.
  13. Ana Balcao Reis & Carmo Seabra & Luis C. Nunes, 2012. "Ranking schools: a step toward increased accountability or a mere discriminatory practice?," FEUNL Working Paper Series wp567, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Faculdade de Economia.

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