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Another Look at the New York City School Voucher Experiment

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  • Alan B. Krueger
  • Pei Zhu

Abstract

This paper reexamines data from the New York City school choice program, the largest and best implemented private school scholarship experiment yet conducted. In the experiment, low-income public school students in grades K-4 were eligible to participate in a series of lotteries for a private school scholarship in May 1997. Data were collected from students and their parents at baseline, and in the Spring of each of the next three years. Students with missing baseline test scores, which encompasses all those who were initially in Kindergarten and 11 percent of those initially in grades 1-4, were excluded from previous analyses of achievement, even though these students were tested in the follow-up years. In principle, random assignment would be expected to lead treatment status to be uncorrelated with all baseline characteristics. Including students with missing baseline test scores increases the sample size by 44 percent. For African American students, the only group to show a significant, positive effect of vouchers on achievement in past studies, the difference in average follow-up test scores between the treatment group (those offered a voucher) and control group (those not offered a voucher) becomes statistically insignificant at the .05 level and much smaller if the full sample is used. In addition, the effect of vouchers is found to be sensitive to the particular way race/ethnicity was defined. Previously, race was assigned according to the racial/ethnic category of the child's mother. If children with a Black (non-Hispanic) father are added to the sample of children with a Black (non-Hispanic) mother, the effect of vouchers is smaller and statistically insignificant at conventional levels.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9418.

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Date of creation: Jan 2003
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Publication status: published as Krueger, Alan B. and Pei Zhu. "Another Look at the New York City School Voucher Experiment." American Behavioral Scientist 47, 5 (2004): 658-698.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9418

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  1. Alan B. Krueger, 1999. "Experimental Estimates Of Education Production Functions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 497-532, May.
  2. Joshua Angrist & Eric Bettinger & Erik Bloom & Elizabeth King & Michael Kremer, 2002. "Vouchers for private schooling in colombia: Evidence from a randomized natural experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00203, The Field Experiments Website.
  3. Derek Neal, 2002. "How Vouchers Could Change the Market for Education," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 25-44, Fall.
  4. J.D. Angrist & Guido W. Imbens & D.B. Rubin, 1993. "Identification of Causal Effects Using Instrumental Variables," NBER Technical Working Papers 0136, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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, Mathematica Policy Research 3180, Mathematica Policy Research.
  6. William Darity & Darrick Hamilton & Jason Dietrich, 2002. "Passing on blackness: Latinos, race, and earnings in the USA," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(13), pages 847-853.
  7. Cecilia Elena Rouse, 1997. "Private School Vouchers and Student Achievement: An Evaluation of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program," NBER Working Papers 5964, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Moulton, Brent R, 1990. "An Illustration of a Pitfall in Estimating the Effects of Aggregate Variables on Micro Unit," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(2), pages 334-38, May.
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