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'Every Catholic Child in a Catholic School': Historical Resistance to State Schooling, Contemporary Private Competition and Student Achievement across Countries

  • Martin R. West
  • Ludger Woessmann

Nineteenth-century Catholic doctrine strongly opposed state schooling. We show that countries with larger shares of Catholics in 1900 (but without a Catholic state religion) tend to have larger shares of privately operated schools even today. We use this historical pattern as a natural experiment to estimate the causal effect of contemporary private competition on student achievement in cross-country student-level analyses. Our results show that larger shares of privately operated schools lead to better student achievement in mathematics, science and reading, and to lower total education spending, even after controlling for current Catholic shares. Copyright � The Author(s). Journal compilation � Royal Economic Society 2010.

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File URL: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1468-0297.2010.02375.x
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Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 120 (2010)
Issue (Month): 546 (08)
Pages: F229-F255

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:120:y:2010:i:546:p:f229-f255
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  1. McCleary, Rachel & Barro, Robert, 2005. "Which Countries Have State Religions?," Scholarly Articles 3710663, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Maristella Botticini & Zvi Eckstein, 2007. "From Farmers to Merchants, Conversions and Diaspora: Human Capital and Jewish History," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(5), pages 885-926, 09.
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  4. David Card & Martin D. Dooley & A. Abigail Payne, 2010. "School Competition and Efficiency with Publicly Funded Catholic Schools," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 150-76, October.
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  6. Ludger Wößmann, 2000. "Schooling Resources, Educational Institutions, and Student Performance: The International Evidence," Kiel Working Papers 983, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  7. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2005. "An Evaluation of Instrumental Variable Strategies for Estimating the Effects of Catholic Schooling," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(4), pages 791-821.
  8. Bishop, John, 2006. "Drinking from the Fountain of Knowledge: Student Incentive to Study and Learn - Externalities, Information Problems and Peer Pressure," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
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  11. Christopher Jepsen, 2003. "The Effectiveness of Catholic Primary Schooling," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(4).
  12. Vandenberghe, V. & Robin, S., 2004. "Evaluating the effectiveness of private education across countries: a comparison of methods," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 487-506, August.
  13. 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, vol. 110(4), pages 941-74, November.
  14. Jepsen, Christopher, 2002. "The role of aggregation in estimating the effects of private school competition on student achievement," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 477-500, November.
  15. Caroline Minter Hoxby, 1994. "Do Private Schools Provide Competition for Public Schools?," NBER Working Papers 4978, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Hans-Martin Krolzig & Massimiliano Marcellino, 2000. "A Markov-Switching Vector Equilibrium Correction Model of the UK Labour Market," Economics Series Working Papers 2000-W37.2, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  17. Toma, Eugenia Froedge, 1996. "Public Funding and Private Schooling across Countries," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39(1), pages 121-48, April.
  18. Dee, Thomas S., 1998. "Competition and the quality of public schools," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 419-427, October.
  19. Helen F. Ladd, 2002. "School Vouchers: A Critical View," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 3-24, Fall.
  20. Francisco A. Gallego, 2004. "School Choice, Incentives, and Academic Outcomes: Evidence from Chile," Econometric Society 2004 Latin American Meetings 39, Econometric Society.
  21. William Sander, 1996. "Catholic Grade Schools and Academic Achievement," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(3), pages 540-548.
  22. Stock, James H & Wright, Jonathan H & Yogo, Motohiro, 2002. "A Survey of Weak Instruments and Weak Identification in Generalized Method of Moments," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(4), pages 518-29, October.
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