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The quality of public education and private school enrollment: an assessment using Brazilian data

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  • Fernanda Estevan

    () (PhD candidate, Department of Economics, CORE, Catholic University of Louvain)

Abstract

In this paper, we test the hypothesis that private school enrollment is the households' response to the low quality of public schools. In order to deal with the simultaneity issue, we explore variations in public school funding caused by the FUNDEF reform that occurred in Brazil in 1998. Using data from the Brazilian School Census, we show that a positive impact of the reform is associated with an immediate reduction in the share of private enrollment for the first grade of primary school at the municipality level. The same effect is not observed for the subsequent primary school years. This con¯rms the intuition that the parents may be reluctant to switch schools after the beginning of their child's schooling track. Our estimation results are robust to variations in the school participation and changes in the income distribution. Thus, the improvement in the quality of public schools originated by the FUNDEF reform has attracted households that would otherwise enroll in private institutions. The same mechanism seems to explain the increase in the net attendance rate during the same period.

Suggested Citation

  • Fernanda Estevan, 2009. "The quality of public education and private school enrollment: an assessment using Brazilian data," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-185, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bos:iedwpr:dp-185
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    Cited by:

    1. Filer, Randall K. & Münich, Daniel, 2013. "Responses of private and public schools to voucher funding," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 269-285.
    2. Kosec, Katrina, 2011. "Politics and preschool : the political economy of investment in pre-primary education," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5647, The World Bank.
    3. Kosec, Katrina, 2014. "Relying on the private sector: The income distribution and public investments in the poor," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 320-342.

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