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Does School Privatization Improve Educational Achievement? Evidence from Sweden's Voucher Reform

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Author Info

  • Böhlmark, Anders

    ()
    (SOFI, Stockholm University)

  • Lindahl, Mikael

    ()
    (Uppsala University)

Abstract

This paper evaluates general achievement effects of choice and competition between private and public schools at the nine-year school level by assessing a radical voucher reform that was implemented in Sweden in 1992. Starting from a situation where the public schools essentially were monopolists on all local school markets, the degree of privatization has developed very differently across municipalities over time as a result of this reform. We estimate the impact of an increase in private enrolment on short, medium and long-term educational outcomes of all pupils using within-municipality variation over time, and control for differential pre-reform and concurrent municipality trends. We find that an increase in the private school share moderately improves short-term educational outcomes such as 9th-grade GPA and the fraction of students who choose an academic high school track. However, we do not find any impact on medium or long-term educational outcomes such as high school GPA, university attainment or years of schooling. We conclude that the first-order short-term effect is too small to yield lasting positive effects.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3691.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3691

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Keywords: private schooling; choice; competition; educational achievement;

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References

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  1. Jacob M. Markman & Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin, 2003. "Does peer ability affect student achievement?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(5), pages 527-544.
  2. Böhlmark, Anders & Lindahl, Mikael, 2007. "The Impact of School Choice on Pupil Achievement, Segregation and Costs: Swedish Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 2786, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. repec:bla:restud:v:77:y:2010:i:3:p:1164-1191 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Sandstrom, F. Mikael & Bergstrom, Fredrik, 2005. "School vouchers in practice: competition will not hurt you," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2-3), pages 351-380, February.
  5. Victor Lavy, 2010. "Effects of Free Choice Among Public Schools," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(3), pages 1164-1191.
  6. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2000. "Does Competition among Public Schools Benefit Students and Taxpayers?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1209-1238, December.
  7. Ahlin, Åsa, 2003. "Does School Competition Matter? Effects of a Large-Scale School Choice Reform on Student Performance," Working Paper Series 2003:2, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  8. Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Peer Effects in the Classroom: Learning from Gender and Race Variation," NBER Working Papers 7867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Gibbons, Steve & Machin, Stephen & Silva, Olmo, 2006. "Choice, Competition and Pupil Achievement," IZA Discussion Papers 2214, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Hsieh, Chang-Tai & Urquiola, Miguel, 2006. "The effects of generalized school choice on achievement and stratification: Evidence from Chile's voucher program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(8-9), pages 1477-1503, September.
  11. Wikstrom, Christina & Wikstrom, Magnus, 2005. "Grade inflation and school competition: an empirical analysis based on the Swedish upper secondary schools," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 309-322, June.
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Cited by:
  1. de Haan, Monique & Leuven, Edwin & Oosterbeek, Hessel, 2011. "Scale Economies Can Offset the Benefits of Competition: Evidence from a School Consolidation Reform in a Universal Voucher System," IZA Discussion Papers 5528, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Elinder, Mikael & Jordahl, Henrik, 2011. "Political Preferences and Public Sector Outsourcing," Working Paper Series 877, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  3. W. Bentley MacLeod & Miguel Urquiola, 2009. "Anti-Lemons: School Reputation and Educational Quality," NBER Working Papers 15112, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Marcel Boyer & Anne Catherine Faye, 2011. "Assessment of International Economic Policy Models and Measures: Lessons for Canada," CIRANO Working Papers 2011s-19, CIRANO.
  5. Karbownik, Krzysztof, 2014. "Job mobility among high-skilled and low-skilled teachers," Working Paper Series 2014:14, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.

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