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School Vouchers and Student Achievement: Recent Evidence and Remaining Questions

Author

Listed:
  • Cecilia Elena Rouse
  • Lisa Barrow

    () (Department of Economics and Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University; Education Research Section, Firestone Library, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08544
    Economic Research, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60604)

Abstract

In this article, we review the empirical evidence on the impact of education vouchers on student achievement and briefly discuss the evidence from other forms of school choice. The best research to date finds relatively small achievement gains for students offered education vouchers, most of which are not statistically different from zero. Furthermore, what little evidence exists regarding the potential for public schools to respond to increased competitive pressure generated by vouchers suggests that one should remain wary that large improvements would result from a more comprehensive voucher system. The evidence from other forms of school choice is also consistent with this conclusion. Many questions remain unanswered, however, including whether vouchers have longer-run impacts on outcomes such as graduation rates, college enrollment, or even future wages, and whether vouchers might nevertheless provide a costneutral alternative to our current system of public education provision at the elementary and secondary school level.

Suggested Citation

  • Cecilia Elena Rouse & Lisa Barrow, 2009. "School Vouchers and Student Achievement: Recent Evidence and Remaining Questions," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 17-42, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:anr:reveco:v:1:y:2009:p:17-42
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    File URL: http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.economics.050708.143354
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Schwartz, Amy Ellen & Voicu, Ioan & Horn, Keren Mertens, 2014. "Do choice schools break the link between public schools and property values? Evidence from house prices in New York City," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 1-10.
    2. Oliver Falck & Ludger Woessmann, 2013. "School competition and students’ entrepreneurial intentions: international evidence using historical Catholic roots of private schooling," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 40(2), pages 459-478, February.
    3. Dennis Epple & Richard E. Romano & Miguel Urquiola, 2017. "School Vouchers: A Survey of the Economics Literature," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 55(2), pages 441-492, June.
    4. Elbert Dijkgraaf & Raymond Gradus & J. Jong, 2013. "Competition and educational quality: evidence from the Netherlands," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 40(4), pages 607-634, November.
    5. 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.
    6. Josep-Oriol Escardíbul & Nehal Helmy, 2015. "Decentralisation and school autonomy impact on the quality of education: the case of two MENA countries," Working Papers 2015/33, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    7. Anell, Anders & Dietrichson, Jens & Ellegård, Lina Maria & Kjellsson, Gustav, 2017. "Information, Switching Costs, and Consumer Choice: Evidence from Two Randomized Field Experiments in Swedish Primary Health Care," Working Papers 2017:7, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    8. Miguel Urquiola, 2015. "Progress and challenges in achieving an evidence-based education policy in Latin America and the Caribbean," Latin American Economic Review, Springer;Centro de Investigaciòn y Docencia Económica (CIDE), vol. 24(1), pages 1-30, December.
    9. Bernardo Lara & Alejandra Mizala & Andrea Repetto, 2009. "The Effectiveness of Private Voucher Education: Evidence from Structural School Switches," Documentos de Trabajo 263, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
    10. Agasisti, Tommaso, 2011. "How competition affects schools' performances: Does specification matter?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 110(3), pages 259-261, March.
    11. Hinnerich, Björn Tyrefors & Vlachos, Jonas, 2017. "The impact of upper-secondary voucher school attendance on student achievement. Swedish evidence using external and internal evaluations," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 1-14.
    12. Felipe Barrera-Osorio & Darío Maldonado & Catherine Rodríguez, 2012. "Calidad de la Educación Básica y Media en Colombia: Diagnóstico y Propuestas," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 010321, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    13. José Manuel Cordero & Diego Prior & Rosa Simancas, 2016. "A comparison of public and private schools in Spain using robust nonparametric frontier methods," Central European Journal of Operations Research, Springer;Slovak Society for Operations Research;Hungarian Operational Research Society;Czech Society for Operations Research;Österr. Gesellschaft für Operations Research (ÖGOR);Slovenian Society Informatika - Section for Operational Research;Croatian Operational Research Society, vol. 24(3), pages 659-680, September.
    14. MacLeod, W. Bentley & Urquiola, Miguel, 2012. "Competition and Educational Productivity: Incentives Writ Large," IZA Discussion Papers 7063, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. David S. Kaplan & Rafael Novella & Graciana Rucci & Claudia Vazquez, 2015. "Training Vouchers and Labor Market Outcomes in Chile," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 88674, Inter-American Development Bank.
    16. Michela Tincani, 2014. "School Vouchers and the Joint Sorting of Students and Teachers," Working Papers 2014-012, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    17. Pallas, Aaron M., 2010. "Meeting the basic educational needs of children and youth," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(9), pages 1199-1210, September.
    18. repec:mab:wpaper:23 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    school competition; school efficiency; school choice; academic achievement;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid

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