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The Legacy of Serrano: The Impact of Mandated Equal Spending on Private School Enrollment

Listed author(s):
  • Thomas A. Husted


    (Department of Economics, American University)

  • Lawrence W. Kenny


    (Department of Economics, University of Florida)

In Tiebout's idealized world, families would sort into homogeneous communities. Each family would get its preferred quality of public schools and there would be no demand for private schools. But limited public school options and a demand for religious instruction not permitted in public schools create a market for private schooling. Recently, many state governments have greatly limited districts' freedom to spend what they wish on education, often in response to court rulings to equalize education spending, such as Serrano in California. Funding equalization also affects the level of public school spending in the average state district; if this rises, as it has in many states, private schools become less attractive. Examining private school enrollment in 159 metropolitan areas in 1970, 1980, and 1990, we find that private school enrollments fall as average public spending rises and increase as public spending becomes more equal.

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Article provided by Southern Economic Association in its journal Southern Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 68 (2002)
Issue (Month): 3 (January)
Pages: 566-583

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Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:68:3:y:2002:p:566-583
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