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Competitive Effects of Means-Tested School Vouchers

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  • David Figlio
  • Cassandra M. D. Hart

Abstract

We use the introduction of a means-tested voucher program in Florida to examine whether increased competitive pressure on public schools affects students' test scores. We find greater score improvements in the wake of the program introduction for students attending schools that faced more competitive private school markets prior to the policy announcement, especially those that faced the greatest financial incentives to retain students. These effects suggest modest benefits for public school students from increased competition. The effects are consistent across several geocoded measures of competition and isolate competitive effects from changes in student composition or resource levels in public schools.

Suggested Citation

  • David Figlio & Cassandra M. D. Hart, 2014. "Competitive Effects of Means-Tested School Vouchers," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 133-156, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:6:y:2014:i:1:p:133-56
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.6.1.133
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Rajashri Chakrabarti, 2013. "Vouchers, Public School Response, And The Role Of Incentives: Evidence From Florida," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 500-526, January.
    2. repec:mpr:mprres:6364 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Böhlmark, Anders & Lindahl, Mikael, 2008. "Does School Privatization Improve Educational Achievement? Evidence from Sweden's Voucher Reform," IZA Discussion Papers 3691, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2005. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 151-184, February.
    5. Damon Clark, 2009. "The Performance and Competitive Effects of School Autonomy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(4), pages 745-783, August.
    6. Julie Berry Cullen & Brian A Jacob & Steven Levitt, 2006. "The Effect of School Choice on Participants: Evidence from Randomized Lotteries," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(5), pages 1191-1230, September.
    7. Hanley Chiang, "undated". "How Accountability Pressure on Failing Schools Affects Student Achievement," Mathematica Policy Research Reports c58a3b537e324447b94a2bd41, Mathematica Policy Research.
    8. Couch, Jim F & Shughart, William F, II & Williams, Al L, 1993. "Private School Enrollment and Public School Performance," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 76(4), pages 301-312, August.
    9. Chiang, Hanley, 2009. "How accountability pressure on failing schools affects student achievement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(9-10), pages 1045-1057, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:bla:obuest:v:79:y:2017:i:5:p:654-688 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Rajashri Chakrabarti, 2013. "Accountability with Voucher Threats, Responses, and the Test-Taking Population: Regression Discontinuity Evidence from Florida," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 8(2), pages 121-167, April.
    3. Schneider, Kerstin & Schuchart, Claudia & Weishaupt, Horst & Riedel, Andrea, 2012. "The effect of free primary school choice on ethnic groups — Evidence from a policy reform," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 430-444.
    4. Friesen, Jane & Harris, Benjamin Cerf & Woodcock, Simon, 2013. "Open Enrolment and Student Achievement," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2013-46, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 22 Mar 2014.
    5. Matthew Kasman & Susanna Loeb, 2013. "Principals' Perceptions of Competition for Students in Milwaukee Schools," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 8(1), pages 43-73, January.
    6. David M. Welsch & David M. Zimmer, 2015. "The Relationship Between Student Transfers and District Academic Performance: Accounting for Feedback Effects," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 10(3), pages 399-422, July.
    7. repec:tpr:edfpol:v:13:y:2018:i:4:p:484-512 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:eee:ecoedu:v:67:y:2018:i:c:p:14-24 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Welsch, David M. & Zimmer, David M., 2012. "Do student migrations affect school performance? Evidence from Wisconsin's inter-district public school program," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 195-207.
    10. Thurston Domina & Quentin Brummet & Nikolas Pharris-Ciurej & Sonya R. Porter & Andrew Penner & Emily Penner & Tanya Sanabria, 2017. "Capturing More Than Poverty: School Free and Reduced-Price Lunch Data and Household Income," CARRA Working Papers 2017-09, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    11. Gabriel Heller Sahlgren, 2014. "Handing Over the School Keys: The Impact of Privatisation on Education Quality," Economic Affairs, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(2), pages 196-210, June.
    12. repec:eee:ecoedu:v:58:y:2017:i:c:p:86-107 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Torberg Falch & Astrid Marie Jorde Sandsør & Bjarne Strøm, 2017. "Do Smaller Classes Always Improve Students’ Long-run Outcomes?," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 79(5), pages 654-688, October.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

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