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Tiebout choice and universal school vouchers

  • Brunner, Eric J.
  • Imazeki, Jennifer

This paper examines who is likely to gain and who is likely to lose under a universal voucher program. Following Epple and Romano [D. Epple, R.E. Romano, Competition between private and public schools, vouchers, and peer group effects, American Economic Review 88 (1998) 33-62; D. Epple, R.E. Romano, Neighborhood schools, choice, and the distribution of educational benefits, in: C.M. Hoxby (Ed.), The Economics of School Choice, The Univ. of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2003, pp. 227-286], and Nechyba T.J. Nechyba, Mobility, targeting, and private school vouchers, American Economic Review 90 (2000) 130-146; T.J. Nechyba, Introducing school choice into multidistrict public school systems, in: C.M. Hoxby (Ed.), The Economics of School Choice, The Univ. of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2003, pp. 145-194], we focus on the idea that gains and losses under a universal voucher depend on two effects: changes in peer group composition and changes in housing values. We show that the direction and magnitude of each of these effects hinge critically on market structure, i.e., the amount of school choice that already exists in the public sector. In markets with little or no Tiebout choice, potential changes in peer group composition create an incentive for high-socioeconomic (SES) households to vote for the voucher and for low-SES households to vote against voucher. In contrast, in markets with significant Tiebout choice, potential changes in housing values create an incentive for high-SES households to vote against the voucher and for low-SES households to vote for the voucher. Using data on vote outcomes from California's 2000 voucher initiative, we find evidence consistent with those predictions.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Urban Economics.

Volume (Year): 63 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 253-279

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Handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:63:y:2008:i:1:p:253-279
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622905

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  1. Amy B. Schmidt, 1992. "Private School Enrollment in Metropolitan Areas," Public Finance Review, , vol. 20(3), pages 298-320, July.
  2. Dennis N. Epple & Richard Romano, 2003. "Neighborhood Schools, Choice, and the Distribution of Educational Benefits," NBER Chapters, in: The Economics of School Choice, pages 227-286 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Miguel Urquiola, 2005. "Does School Choice Lead to Sorting? Evidence from Tiebout Variation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1310-1326, September.
  4. Sandra E. Black, 1997. "Do better schools matter? Parental valuation of elementary education," Research Paper 9729, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  5. 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.
  6. Thomas J. Nechyba, 2003. "Introducing School Choice into Multidistrict Public School Systems," NBER Chapters, in: The Economics of School Choice, pages 145-194 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Reback, Randall, 2005. "House prices and the provision of local public services: capitalization under school choice programs," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 275-301, March.
  8. Holger Sieg & V. Kerry Smith & H. Spencer Banzhaf & Randy Walsh, . "Estimating the General Equilibrium Benefits of Large Changes in Spatially Delineated Public Goods," GSIA Working Papers 2003-07, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  9. Thomas A. Downes & Shane M. Greenstein, 1996. "Understanding the Supply Decisions of Nonprofits: Modelling the Location of Private Schools," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(2), pages 365-390, Summer.
  10. Thomas J. Nechyba, 2003. "Centralization, Fiscal Federalism, and Private School Attendance," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(1), pages 179-204, February.
  11. Dennis Epple & Thomas Romer & Holger Sieg, 2001. "Interjurisdictional Sorting and Majority Rule: An Empirical Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(6), pages 1437-1465, November.
  12. Downes, Thomas A & Greenstein, Shane M, 2002. "Entry into the Schooling Market: How Is the Behaviour of Private Suppliers Influenced by Public Sector Decisions?," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(4), pages 341-71, October.
  13. Figlio, David N. & Stone, Joe A., 2001. "Can Public Policy Affect Private School Cream Skimming?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 240-266, March.
  14. McMillan, Robert, 2004. "Competition, incentives, and public school productivity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1871-1892, August.
  15. 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.
  16. Thomas. J. Nechyba, 1997. "Existence of equilibrium and stratification in local and hierarchical Tiebout economies with property taxes and voting," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 277-304.
  17. Thomas J. Nechyba, 2000. "Mobility, Targeting, and Private-School Vouchers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 130-146, March.
  18. Epple, Dennis & Platt, Glenn J., 1998. "Equilibrium and Local Redistribution in an Urban Economy when Households Differ in both Preferences and Incomes," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 23-51, January.
  19. Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard E, 1998. "Competition between Private and Public Schools, Vouchers, and Peer-Group Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 33-62, March.
  20. Brunner, Eric & Sonstelie, Jon, 2003. "Homeowners, property values, and the political economy of the school voucher," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 239-257, September.
  21. Jesse M. Rothstein, 2006. "Good Principals or Good Peers? Parental Valuation of School Characteristics, Tiebout Equilibrium, and the Incentive Effects of Competition among Jurisdictions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1333-1350, September.
  22. Eric J. Brunner & Jon Sonstelie, 2006. "California's School Finance Reform: An Experiment in Fiscal Federalism," Working papers 2006-09, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  23. Bogart, William T. & Cromwell, Brian A., 2000. "How Much Is a Neighborhood School Worth?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 280-305, March.
  24. Lankford, Hamilton & Wyckoff, James, 2001. "Who Would Be Left Behind by Enhanced Private School Choice?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 288-312, September.
  25. Dennis Epple & Holger Sieg, 1999. "Estimating Equilibrium Models of Local Jurisdictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(4), pages 645-681, August.
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