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Independent Schools and Long-Run Educational Outcomes - Evidence from Sweden's Large Scale Voucher Reform

Author

Listed:
  • Anders Böhlmark
  • Mikael Lindahl

Abstract

This paper evaluates average educational performance effects of an expanding independent school sector at the compulsory level by assessing a radical voucher reform that was implemented in Sweden in 1992. Starting from a situation where all public schools were essentially local monopolists, the degree of independent schools has developed very differently across municipalities over time as a result of this reform. We regress the change in educational performance outcomes on the increase in the share of independent-school students between Swedish municipalities. We find that an increase in the share of independent-school students improves average performance at the end of compulsory school as well as long-run educational outcomes. We show that these effects are very robust with respect to a number of potential issues, such as grade inflation and pre-reform trends. However, for most outcomes, we do not detect positive and statistically significant effects until approximately a decade after the reform. This is notable, but not surprising given that it took time for independent schools to become more than a marginal phenomenon in Sweden. We do not find positive effects on school expenditures. Hence, the educational performance effects are interpretable as positive effects on school productivity. We further find that the average effects primarily are due to external effects (e.g., school competition), and not that independent-school students gain significantly more than public-school students.

Suggested Citation

  • Anders Böhlmark & Mikael Lindahl, 2012. "Independent Schools and Long-Run Educational Outcomes - Evidence from Sweden's Large Scale Voucher Reform," CESifo Working Paper Series 3866, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3866
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. David Card & Martin D. Dooley & A. Abigail Payne, 2010. "School Competition and Efficiency with Publicly Funded Catholic Schools," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 150-176, October.
    2. Esther Duflo, 2001. "Schooling and Labor Market Consequences of School Construction in Indonesia: Evidence from an Unusual Policy Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 795-813, September.
    3. Chakrabarti, Rajashri, 2008. "Can increasing private school participation and monetary loss in a voucher program affect public school performance? Evidence from Milwaukee," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1371-1393, June.
    4. Joshua Angrist & Eric Bettinger & Michael Kremer, 2006. "Long-Term Educational Consequences of Secondary School Vouchers: Evidence from Administrative Records in Colombia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 847-862, June.
    5. Atila Abdulkadiroğlu & Joshua D. Angrist & Susan M. Dynarski & Thomas J. Kane & Parag A. Pathak, 2011. "Accountability and Flexibility in Public Schools: Evidence from Boston's Charters And Pilots," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 699-748.
    6. Eric Bettinger & Michael Kremer & Juan E. Saavedra, 2010. "Are Educational Vouchers Only Redistributive?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(546), pages 204-228, August.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Elinder, Mikael & Jordahl, Henrik, 2013. "Political preferences and public sector outsourcing," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 43-57.
    2. Edmark, Karin & Frölich, Markus & Wondratschek, Verena, 2014. "Sweden's school choice reform and equality of opportunity," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 129-142.
    3. Panu Poutvaara, 2014. "Public-sector outsourcing," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 1-65, May.
    4. Eyles, Andrew & Hupkau, Claudia & Machin, Stephen, 2016. "School reforms and pupil performance," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 9-19.
    5. Hinnerich, Björn Tyrefors & Vlachos, Jonas, 2017. "The impact of upper-secondary voucher school attendance on student achievement. Swedish evidence using external and internal evaluations," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 1-14.
    6. repec:eee:econom:v:200:y:2017:i:2:p:344-362 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Eyles, Andrew & Machin, Stephen & McNally, Sandra, 2017. "Unexpected school reform: Academisation of primary schools in England," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 155(C), pages 108-121.
    8. Besley, Timothy J. & Malcomson, James M, 2016. "Choice and Competition in Public Service Provision," CEPR Discussion Papers 11441, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Joshua D. Angrist & Erich Battistin & Daniela Vuri, 2014. "In a Small Moment: Class Size and Moral Hazard in the Mezzogiorno," FBK-IRVAPP Working Papers 2014-04, Research Institute for the Evaluation of Public Policies (IRVAPP), Bruno Kessler Foundation.
    10. Burgess, Simon, 2016. "Human Capital and Education: The State of the Art in the Economics of Education," IZA Discussion Papers 9885, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Bertoni, Marco & Gibbons, Stephen & Silva, Olmo, 2017. "School Choice during a Period of Radical School Reform: Evidence from the Academy Programme," IZA Discussion Papers 11162, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Marco Bertoni & Stephen Gibbons & Olmo Silva, 2017. "What’s in a Name? Expectations, Heuristics and Choice During a Period of Radical School Reform," CEP Discussion Papers dp1477, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    13. Gabriel Heller Sahlgren, 2014. "Handing Over the School Keys: The Impact of Privatisation on Education Quality," Economic Affairs, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(2), pages 196-210, June.
    14. Pauline Dixon, 2013. "International Aid and Private Schools for the Poor," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 15122.
    15. Andreas Bergh, 2014. "Sweden and the Revival of the Capitalist Welfare State," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 15717.
    16. Anders Böhlmark & Helena Holmlund & Mikael Lindahl, 2016. "Parental choice, neighbourhood segregation or cream skimming? An analysis of school segregation after a generalized choice reform," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 29(4), pages 1155-1190, October.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    school choice; independent schools; educational performance; external effects;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General

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