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From Forced Busing to Free Choice in Public Schools: Quasi-Experimental Evidence of Individual and General Effects

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  • Victor Lavy

Abstract

In 1994 the city of Tel Aviv replaced its existing school integration program based on inter-district busing, with a new program that allowed students to choose freely between schools in and out of district. This paper explores the impact of this program on high school outcomes while distinguishing the effect of choice on individual students from general equilibrium effects on affected districts. The identification is based on a regression discontinuity design that yields comparison groups drawn from untreated tangent neighborhoods in adjacent cities and on instrumental variables. The results suggest that the choice program had significant general equilibrium effects on high school dropout rates, matriculation rates and program of study. The gains are more pronounced among disadvantaged children but not among students who took advantage of the option to attend out of district schools with higher mean outcomes. These results and other evidence related to the behavioral responses of schools and students to the program suggest that the positive impact of the program is mainly due to better matching between students and schools and to productivity effects of choice and competition among schools.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11969.

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Date of creation: Jan 2006
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11969

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  1. Sandra E. Black, 1999. "Do Better Schools Matter? Parental Valuation Of Elementary Education," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 577-599, May.
  2. 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.
  3. Julie Berry Cullen & Brian A. Jacob & Steven Levitt, 2003. "The Effect of School Choice on Student Outcomes: Evidence from Randomized Lotteries," NBER Working Papers 10113, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Julie Berry Cullen & Brian Jacob & Steven Levitt, 2000. "The Impact of School Choice on Student Outcomes: An Analysis of the Chicago Public Schools," NBER Working Papers 7888, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Sandström, F. Mikael & Bergström, Fredrik, 2002. "School Vouchers in Practice: Competition Won't Hurt You!," Working Paper Series 578, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  6. Patrick Bayer & Robert McMillan, 2005. "Choice and Competition in Local Education Markets," NBER Working Papers 11802, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Jesse Rothstein, 2005. "Does Competition Among Public Schools Benefit Students and Taxpayers? A Comment on Hoxby (2000)," NBER Working Papers 11215, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Krueger, Alan B. & Zhu, Pei, 2002. "Another Look at the New York City School Voucher Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 663, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Joshua Angrist & Eric Bettinger & Michael Kremer, 2004. "Long-Term Consequences of Secondary School Vouchers: Evidence from Administrative Records in Colombia," NBER Working Papers 10713, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Joshua Angrist & Eric Bettinger & Erik Bloom & Elizabeth King & Michael Kremer, 2001. "Vouchers for Private Schooling in Colombia: Evidence from a Randomized Natural Experiment," NBER Working Papers 8343, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Hastings, Justine S. & Kane, Thomas J. & Staiger, Douglas O., 2005. "Parental Preferences and School Competition: Evidence from a Public School Choice Program," Working Papers 10, Yale University, Department of Economics.
  12. Bradley, Steve & Johnes, Geraint & Millington, Jim, 2001. "The effect of competition on the efficiency of secondary schools in England," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 135(3), pages 545-568, December.
  13. Angrist, Joshua & Lavy, Victor, 2002. "The Effect of High School Matriculation Awards: Evidence from Randomized Trials," CEPR Discussion Papers 3827, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2002. "School Choice and School Productivity (or Could School Choice be a Tide that Lifts All Boats?)," NBER Working Papers 8873, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Miguel Urquiola, 2003. "When Schools Compete, How Do They Compete? An Assessment of Chile's Nationwide School Voucher Program," NBER Working Papers 10008, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. 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.
  17. Jonathan Guryan, 2001. "Desegregation and Black Dropout Rates," NBER Working Papers 8345, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Jesse M. Rothstein, 2006. "Good Principals or Good Peers? Parental Valuation of School Characteristics, Tiebout Equilibrium, and the Incentive Effects of Competition among Jurisdictions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1333-1350, September.
  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," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 3180, Mathematica Policy Research.
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Cited by:
  1. Martin Schlotter & Guido Schwerdt & Ludger Woessmann, 2011. "Econometric methods for causal evaluation of education policies and practices: a non-technical guide," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(2), pages 109-137.
  2. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2009. "Regression Discontinuity Designs In Economics," Working Papers 1118, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..

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