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The Impact of School Choice on Student Outcomes: An Analysis of the Chicago Public Schools

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  • Julie Berry Cullen
  • Brian Jacob
  • Steven Levitt

Abstract

Current education reform proposals involve improving educational outcomes through forms of market-based competition and expanded parental choice. In this paper, we explore the impact of choice through open enrollment within the Chicago Public Schools (CPS). Roughly half of the students within CPS opt out of their assigned high school to attend other neighborhood schools or special career academies and magnet schools. Access to school choice dramatically increases student sorting by ability relative to neighborhood assignment. Students who opt out are more likely to graduate than observationally similar students who remain at their assigned schools. However, with the exception of those attending career academies, the gains appear to be largely spurious driven by the fact that more motivated students are disproportionately likely to opt out. Students with easy geographical access to a range of schools other than career academies (who presumably have a greater degree of school choice) are no more likely to graduate on average than students in more isolated areas. We find no evidence that this finding can be explained by negative spillovers to those who remain that mask gains to those who travel. Open enrollment apparently benefits those students who take advantage of having access to vocational programs without harming those who do not.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7888.

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Date of creation: Sep 2000
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Publication status: published as Cullen, Julie Berry & Jacob, Brian A. & Levitt, Steven D., 2005. "The impact of school choice on student outcomes: an analysis of the Chicago Public Schools," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 729-760, June.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7888

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  1. 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, MIT Press, vol. 113(2), pages 553-602, May.
  2. Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard E, 1998. "Competition between Private and Public Schools, Vouchers, and Peer-Group Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 33-62, March.
  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. 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.
  5. Buddin, Richard J. & Cordes, Joseph J. & Kirby, Sheila Nataraj, 1998. "School Choice in California: Who Chooses Private Schools?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 110-134, July.
  6. Goldhaber, Dan D. & Brewer, Dominic J. & Eide, Eric R. & Rees, Daniel I., 1999. "Testing for sample selection in the Milwaukee school choice experiment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 259-267, April.
  7. Lankford R. H. & Lee E. S. & Wyckoff J. H., 1995. "An Analysis of Elementary and Secondary School Choice," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 236-251, September.
  8. Evans, William N & Oates, Wallace E & Schwab, Robert M, 1992. "Measuring Peer Group Effects: A Study of Teenage Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 966-91, October.
  9. 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, MIT Press, vol. 110(4), pages 941-74, November.
  10. Paul E. Peterson & David Myers & William G. Howell, 1998. "An Evaluation of the New York City School Choice Scholarships Program: The First Year," Mathematica Policy Research Reports, Mathematica Policy Research 1904, Mathematica Policy Research.
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  1. On the Swedish voucher system
    by Tino in Super-Economy on 2011-03-25 16:40:00
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