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School Competition and Efficiency with Publicly Funded Catholic Schools

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  • David Card
  • Martin Dooley
  • Abigail Payne

Abstract

The province of Ontario has two publicly funded school systems: secular schools (known as public schools) that are open to all students, and separate schools that are open to children with Catholic backgrounds. The systems are administered independently and receive equal funding per student. In this paper we use detailed school and student-level data to assess whether competition between the systems leads to improved efficiency. Building on a simple model of school choice, we argue that incentives for effort will be greater in areas where there are more Catholic families, and where these families are less committed to a particular system. To measure the local determinants of cross-system competition we study the effects of school openings on enrollment growth at nearby elementary schools. We find significant cross-system responses to school openings, with a magnitude that is proportional to the fraction of Catholics in the area, and is higher in more rapidly growing areas. We then test whether schools that face greater cross-system competition have higher productivity, as measured by test score gains between 3rd and 6th grade. We estimate a statistically significant but modest-sized impact of potential competition on the growth rate of student achievement. The estimates suggest that extending competition to all students would raise average test scores in 6th grade by 6-8% of a standard deviation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14176.

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Date of creation: Jul 2008
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14176

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References

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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Competing schools are more efficient
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2009-01-28 17:18:00
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Cited by:
  1. Anders Böhlmark & Mikael Lindahl, 2012. "Independent Schools and Long-Run Educational Outcomes - Evidence from Sweden's Large Scale Voucher Reform," CESifo Working Paper Series 3866, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. ANDRÉ Pierre & DEMONSANT Jean-Luc, 2012. "Koranic Schools in Senegal: A real barrier to formal education?," CEPS/INSTEAD Working Paper Series 2012-34, CEPS/INSTEAD.
  3. Francisco Gallego, 2012. "When does Inter-School Competition Matter? Evidence from the Chilean 'Voucher' System," Documentos de Trabajo 429, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..
  4. 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).
  5. Rebecca Allen & Anna Vignoles, 2009. "Can school competition improve standards? The case of faith schools in England," DoQSS Working Papers 09-04, Department of Quantitative Social Science - Institute of Education, University of London.
  6. Steve Gibbons & Stephen Machin & Olmo Silva, 2009. "Valuing School Quality Using Boundary Discontinuities," SERC Discussion Papers 0018, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
  7. Friesen, Jane & Harris, Benjamin Cerf & Woodcock, Simon D., 2013. "Open Enrolment and Student Achievement," IZA Discussion Papers 7642, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Diego A. Vera Cossio, 2011. "Enrollment and child labor in Bolivia," Development Research Working Paper Series 11/2011, Institute for Advanced Development Studies.
  9. David Card & Martin Dooley & A. Abigail Payne, 2008. "School Choice and the Benefits of Competition: Evidence from Ontario," C.D. Howe Institute Backgrounder, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 115, October.

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