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Do charter schools crowd out private school enrollment? Evidence from Michigan

  • Rajashri Chakrabarti
  • Joydeep Roy

Charter schools have been one of the most important dimensions of recent school reform measures in the United States. Currently, there are more than 4,500 charter schools spread across forty U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Though there have been numerous studies on the effects of charter schools, these have mostly been confined to analyzing the effects on student achievement, student demographic composition, parental satisfaction, and the competitive effects on regular public schools. This study departs from the existing literature by investigating the effect of charter schools on enrollment in private schools. To investigate this issue empirically, we focus on the state of Michigan, where there was a significant spread of charter schools in the 1990s. Using data on private school enrollment from decennial censuses and biennial National Center for Education Statistics private school surveys, and using a fixed-effects as well as instrumental-variables strategy that exploits exogenous variation from Michigan charter law, we investigate the effect of charter school penetration on private school enrollment. We find some evidence of a decline in enrollment in private schools - but the effect is only modest in size. This finding is reasonably robust, and survives several robustness checks.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 472.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:472
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  1. Randall W. Eberts & Kevin Hollenbeck, 2001. "An Examination of Student Achievement in Michigan Charter Schools," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 01-68, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  2. Dee, Thomas S. & Fu, Helen, 2004. "Do charter schools skim students or drain resources?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 259-271, June.
  3. Justine S. Hastings & Jeffrey M. Weinstein, 2007. "Information, School Choice, and Academic Achievement: Evidence from Two Experiments," NBER Working Papers 13623, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2002. "School Choice and School Productivity (or Could School Choice be a Tide that Lifts All Boats?)," NBER Working Papers 8873, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Thomas J. Nechyba, 2003. "Centralization, Fiscal Federalism, and Private School Attendance," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(1), pages 179-204, February.
  6. Alejandra Mizala & Miguel Urquiola, 2007. "Parental choice and school markets: The impact of information approximating school effectiveness," Documentos de Trabajo 239, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
  7. Booker, Kevin & Gilpatric, Scott M. & Gronberg, Timothy & Jansen, Dennis, 2007. "The impact of charter school attendance on student performance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(5-6), pages 849-876, June.
  8. Booker, Kevin & Gilpatric, Scott M. & Gronberg, Timothy & Jansen, Dennis, 2008. "The effect of charter schools on traditional public school students in Texas: Are children who stay behind left behind?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 123-145, July.
  9. Bettinger, Eric P., 2005. "The effect of charter schools on charter students and public schools," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 133-147, April.
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