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Private School Choice: The Effects Of Religion And Religiosity


  • Danny Cohen-Zada

    () (BGU)

  • William Sander

    (Department of Economics, DePaul University, Chicago)


The effects of religion and religiosity on the demand for private schooling are considered both theoretically and empirically. Probit estimates of private school attendance and multinomial logit estimates of attendance at different types of private schools including Catholic schools, Protestant schools, and nonsectarian private schools are undertaken. It is shown that both religion and religiosity have important effects on the demand for the different types of private schools. Further, it is shown that if religiosity is not taken into account (the usual case), the effect of religion on demand is biased. The effects of race, ethnicity, family background, and location on the demand for private schooling are also considered. Data from the National Opinion Research Center’s “General Social Survey” are used.

Suggested Citation

  • Danny Cohen-Zada & William Sander, 2006. "Private School Choice: The Effects Of Religion And Religiosity," Working Papers 0601, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bgu:wpaper:0601

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lankford, Hamilton & Wyckoff, James, 1992. "Primary and secondary school choice among public and religious alternatives," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 317-337, December.
    2. Betts, Julian R. & Fairlie, Robert W., 2001. "Explaining Ethnic, Racial, and Immigrant Differences in Private School Attendance," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 26-51, July.
    3. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2005. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 151-184, February.
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    5. Sander, William & Krautmann, Anthony C, 1995. "Catholic Schools, Dropout Rates and Educational Attainment," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 33(2), pages 217-233, April.
    6. Neal, Derek, 1997. "The Effects of Catholic Secondary Schooling on Educational Achievement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 98-123, January.
    7. William Sander, 1996. "Catholic Grade Schools and Academic Achievement," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(3), pages 540-548.
    8. Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard E., 1996. "Ends against the middle: Determining public service provision when there are private alternatives," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(3), pages 297-325, November.
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    10. Gerhard Glomm & B. Ravikumar, 1998. "Opting out of publicly provided services: A majority voting result," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 15(2), pages 187-199.
    11. Gradstein, Mark & Justman, Moshe, 2005. "The melting pot and school choice," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 871-896, June.
    12. Stella Koutroumanes Hofrenning & Barry R. Chiswick, 1999. "A Method for Proxying a Respondent's Religious Background: An Application to School Choice Decisions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(1), pages 193-207.
    13. Evelyn Lehrer, 2004. "Religiosity as a Determinant of Educational Attainment: The Case of Conservative Protestant Women in the United States," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 203-219, June.
    14. 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.
    15. Barry R. Chiswick, 1988. "Differences in Education and Earnings Across Racial and Ethnic Groups: Tastes, Discrimination, and Investments in Child Quality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(3), pages 571-597.
    16. Christopher Jepsen, 2003. "The Effectiveness of Catholic Primary Schooling," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(4).
    17. 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.
    18. 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.
    19. Caroline Minter Hoxby, 1994. "Do Private Schools Provide Competition for Public Schools?," NBER Working Papers 4978, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Cohen-Zada, Danny & Justman, Moshe, 2005. "The religious factor in private education," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 391-418, May.
    21. David E. Campbell & Martin R. West & Paul E. Peterson, 2005. "Participation in a national, means-tested school voucher program," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(3), pages 523-541.
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    More about this item


    School choice; demand for schooling; religious education;

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion


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