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Tiebout choice and universal school vouchers

Author

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  • Brunner, Eric J.
  • Imazeki, Jennifer

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Brunner, Eric J. & Imazeki, Jennifer, 2008. "Tiebout choice and universal school vouchers," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 253-279, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:63:y:2008:i:1:p:253-279
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:aea:jeclit:v:55:y:2017:i:2:p:441-92 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Calsamiglia, Caterina & Güell, Maia, 2014. "The Illusion of School Choice: Empirical Evidence from Barcelona," IZA Discussion Papers 8202, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Gerdes, Christer, 2010. "Does Immigration Induce ‘Native Flight’ from Public Schools? Evidence from a large scale voucher program," SULCIS Working Papers 2010:1, Stockholm University, Linnaeus Center for Integration Studies - SULCIS.
    4. Rebecca Allen & Simon Burgess & Tomas Key, 2010. "Choosing secondary school by moving house: school quality and the formation of neighbourhoods," DoQSS Working Papers 10-21, Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
    5. Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard, 2014. "On the political economy of educational vouchers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 62-73.
    6. Rebecca Allen & Simon Burgess & Leigh McKenna, 2010. "How should we treat under-performing schools? A regression discontinuity analysis of school inspections in England," DoQSS Working Papers 10-20, Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
    7. 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.
    8. Christer Gerdes, 2013. "Does immigration induce “native flight” from public schools?," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 50(2), pages 645-666, April.
    9. David M. Brasington & Diane Hite, 2014. "School Choice: Supporters And Opponents," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 32(1), pages 76-92, January.
    10. Brunner, Eric J. & Cho, Sung-Woo & Reback, Randall, 2012. "Mobility, housing markets, and schools: Estimating the effects of inter-district choice programs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(7), pages 604-614.
    11. Matthew J. Burbank & Daniel Levin, 2015. "Community Attachment and Voting for School Vouchers," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1169-1177, November.
    12. Eric J. Brunner & Stephen L. Ross, 2009. "Is the Median Voter Decisive? Evidence of 'Ends Against the Middle' From Referenda Voting Patterns," Working papers 2009-02, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics, revised May 2010.
    13. Tomori, Françeska, 2018. "Mixed Duopoly in Education with Vouchers," Working Papers 2072/306548, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Department of Economics.

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