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School Vouchers: A Critical View

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  • Helen F. Ladd

Abstract

This paper marshals available evidence from both the U.S. and other countries on the effects of private schools, peer effects, and competition to demonstrate that that any gains in overall student achievement from a large scale voucher program are at best likely to be small. Moreover, given the tendency of parents to judge schools in part by the characteristics of a school's students, a universal voucher system would undoubtedly harm large numbers of disadvantaged students. Although the case for a small means tested voucher program is somewhat stronger, it will do little to improve education for low-performing students.

Suggested Citation

  • Helen F. Ladd, 2002. "School Vouchers: A Critical View," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 3-24, Fall.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:16:y:2002:i:4:p:3-24
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/089533002320950957
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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/089533002320950957
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jacob M. Markman & Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin, 2003. "Does peer ability affect student achievement?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(5), pages 527-544.
    2. Sandra E. Black, 1999. "Do Better Schools Matter? Parental Valuation of Elementary Education," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 577-599.
    3. Epple, Dennis & Figlio, David & Romano, Richard, 2004. "Competition between private and public schools: testing stratification and pricing predictions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1215-1245, July.
    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. Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Peer Effects in the Classroom: Learning from Gender and Race Variation," NBER Working Papers 7867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Henderson, Vernon & Mieszkowski, Peter & Sauvageau, Yvon, 1978. "Peer group effects and educational production functions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 97-106, August.
    7. 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.
    8. Hanushek, Eric A. & Kain, John F. & Rivkin, Steven G., 2004. "Disruption versus Tiebout improvement: the costs and benefits of switching schools," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1721-1746, August.
    9. Caroline Minter Hoxby, 1994. "Do Private Schools Provide Competition for Public Schools?," NBER Working Papers 4978, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. repec:eme:rlepps:v:18:y:1999:i:1999:p:115-140 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Randall W. Eberts & Kevin Hollenbeck, 2001. "An Examination of Student Achievement in Michigan Charter Schools," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 01-68, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
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