IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

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


  • Fernanda Estevan

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


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

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    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.

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bos:iedwpr:dp-185. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Program Coordinator). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.