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Private School Enrollment in Metropolitan Areas

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  • Amy B. Schmidt

    (Bentley College)

Abstract

This article uses the Tiebout hypothesis to explain variations in private school enrollments across metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). Each MSA is viewed as an educational marketplace where families sort themselves into school districts. The typical district is expected to be more heterogeneous in MSAs that have fewer districts and thus have less complete sorting. As district heterogeneity rises, dissatisfaction with the quality of education chosen by the median voter grows and private enrollment increases. The variation of income in each school district, school expenditures, and private school enrollment are mutually determined in a three-equation system. The model is estimated for 129 MSAs, using 1980 data at the school district level. The results are generally supportive of the theory. Secular private enrollments are positively related to income heterogeneity. State policies that reduce choice among public school districts within MSAs result in greater secular private school enrollment. Finally, revenue increase limitations also increase private enrollments.

Suggested Citation

  • Amy B. Schmidt, 1992. "Private School Enrollment in Metropolitan Areas," Public Finance Review, , vol. 20(3), pages 298-320, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:pubfin:v:20:y:1992:i:3:p:298-320
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Buddin, Richard J. & Cordes, Joseph J. & Kirby, Sheila Nataraj, 1998. "School Choice in California: Who Chooses Private Schools?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 110-134, July.
    4. Brunner, Eric J. & Imazeki, Jennifer, 2008. "Tiebout choice and universal school vouchers," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 253-279, January.
    5. Barrow, Lisa, 2006. "Private school location and neighborhood characteristics," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 633-645, December.
    6. Thomas J. Nechyba, 1996. "Public School Finance in a General Equilibrium Tiebout World: Equalization Programs, Peer Effects and Private School Vouchers," NBER Working Papers 5642, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Figlio, David N. & Husted, Thomas A. & Kenny, Lawrence W., 2004. "Political economy of the inequality in school spending," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 338-349, March.
    8. Downes, Thomas A. & Schoeman, David, 1998. "School Finance Reform and Private School Enrollment: Evidence from California," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 418-443, May.
    9. Cohen-Zada, Danny, 2006. "Preserving religious identity through education: Economic analysis and evidence from the US," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 372-398, November.
    10. Cohen-Zada, Danny & Justman, Moshe, 2003. "The political economy of school choice: linking theory and evidence," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 277-308, September.
    11. Zanzig, Blair R., 1997. "Measuring the impact of competition in local government education markets on the cognitive achievement of students," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 431-441, October.

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