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Private/Public School Choice and Student Performance Revisited


  • Lonnie Stevans
  • David Sessions


This paper examines the differences in an index of standardized test performance of urban private/public school seniors by race, using a sample of 4172 students from the 1992 US National Education Longitudinal Survey. In addition to using 257 exogenous variables to control for individual traits, family background, etc., we treat both student performance and school choice as jointly endogenous in the context of a simultaneous equations model with a latent variable: school choice. We find that while White students perform marginally better in private relative to public schools, a performance gain for private school minority students was not realized. Given the additional finding that school characteristics/quality do not affect minority student performance, we conclude that 'school choice' is mostly taken advantage of by White urban residents.

Suggested Citation

  • Lonnie Stevans & David Sessions, 2000. "Private/Public School Choice and Student Performance Revisited," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(2), pages 169-184.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:edecon:v:8:y:2000:i:2:p:169-184 DOI: 10.1080/096452900410730

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. D. N. Figlio & J. A. Stone, "undated". "School Choice and Student Performance: Are Private Schools Really Better?," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1141-97, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    2. Paul Grimes & Deborah Lee, 2000. "Economic education and economic growth," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 28(4), pages 490-490, December.
    3. Cecilia Elena Rouse, 1998. "Schools and student achievement: more evidence from the Milwaukee parental choice program," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Mar, pages 61-76.
    4. Murnane, Richard J & Newstead, Stuart & Olsen, Randall J, 1985. "Comparing Public and Private Schools: The Puzzling Role of Selectivity Bias," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 3(1), pages 23-35, January.
    5. Derek Neal, 1994. "The Effect of Catholic Secondary Schooling on Educational Attainment," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 95, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
    6. repec:fth:prinin:396 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. William N. Evans & Robert M. Schwab, 1995. "Finishing High School and Starting College: Do Catholic Schools Make a Difference?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(4), pages 941-974.
    8. Derek Neal, 1998. "What have we learned about the benefits of private schooling?," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Mar, pages 79-86.
    9. William Sander, 1997. "Catholic High Schools and Rural Academic Achievement," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 79(1), pages 1-12.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mancebón-Torrubia, María-Jesús & Calero, Jorge & Choi, Álvaro & Ximénez-de-Embún, Domingo P., 2010. "Efficiency of public and publicly-subsidised high schools in Spain. Evidence from PISA 2006," MPRA Paper 21165, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Marchionni, Mariana & Vazquez, Emmanuel & Pinto, Florencia, 2012. "Desigualdad educativa en la Argentina. Análisis en base a los datos PISA 2009
      [Education Inequality in Argentina. An analysis based on PISA 2009 data]
      ," MPRA Paper 56420, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Marchionni, Mariana & Pinto, Florencia & Vazquez, Emmanuel, 2013. "Determinantes de la desigualdad en el desempeño educativo en la Argentina
      [Determinants of the inequality in PISA test scores in Argentina]
      ," MPRA Paper 56421, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Nam, Jaehyun & Ansong, David, 2015. "The effects of a dedicated education savings account on children's college graduation," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 198-207.
    5. Wikstrom, Christina & Wikstrom, Magnus, 2005. "Grade inflation and school competition: an empirical analysis based on the Swedish upper secondary schools," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 309-322, June.
    6. Sandra Nieto & Raul Ramos & Juan Carlos Duque, 2012. "Rural-urban differences in educational outcomes: Evidence for Colombia using PISA microdata," ERSA conference papers ersa12p388, European Regional Science Association.
    7. Jorge Calero & Josep-Oriol Escardíbul, 2007. "Evaluación de servicios educativos: el rendimiento en los centros públicos y privados medido en PISA-2003," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 183(4), pages 33-66, december.
    8. Ramos, Raul & Duque, Juan Carlos & Nieto, Sandra, 2016. "Decomposing the Rural-Urban Differential in Student Achievement in Colombia using PISA Microdata/Una descomposición del diferencial rural-urbano en los rendimientos educativos en Colombia a partir de ," Estudios de Economía Aplicada, Estudios de Economía Aplicada, vol. 34, pages 379-412, Mayo.
    9. Sandra Nieto & Raul Ramos, 2014. "“Decomposition of Differences in PISA Results in Middle Income Countries”," AQR Working Papers 201404, University of Barcelona, Regional Quantitative Analysis Group, revised Mar 2014.
    10. Raul Ramos & Juan Carlos Duque & Sandra Nieto, 2012. "“Decomposing the Rural-Urban Differential in Student Achievement in Colombia Using PISA Microdata”," AQR Working Papers 201210, University of Barcelona, Regional Quantitative Analysis Group, revised Mar 2013.

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