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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. 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.
  2. Rajashri Chakrabarti & Joydeep Roy, 2012. "Housing markets and residential segregation: impacts of the Michigan school finance reform on inter- and intra-district sorting," Staff Reports 565, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  3. 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.
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  17. Joydeep Roy, 2011. "Impact of School Finance Reform on Resource Equalization and Academic Performance: Evidence from Michigan," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 6(2), pages 137-167, April.
  18. Tim R. Sass, 2006. "Charter Schools and Student Achievement in Florida," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 1(1), pages 91-122, January.
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  24. Joshua D. Angrist & Susan M. Dynarski & Thomas J. Kane & Parag A. Pathak & Christopher R. Walters, 2010. "Inputs and Impacts in Charter Schools: KIPP Lynn," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 239-43, May.
  25. 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.
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