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School choice and segregation: evidence from Sweden

Listed author(s):
  • Böhlmark, Anders

    ()

    (Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University)

  • Holmlund, Helena

    ()

    (IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy)

  • Lindahl, Mikael

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Uppsala University)

This paper studies the evolution of school segregation in Sweden in the aftermath of the 1992 universal school voucher reform, which spurred the establishment of new independent voucher schools and introduced parental choice. The empirical analysis assesses the relative importance of neighbourhood sorting, parental choice and the location of independent schools for school segregation. In particular, it exploits variation in school choice opportunities across municipalities, and provides descriptive evidence that in regions where school choice has become more prevalent, school segregation between immigrants and natives, and between children of high/low educated parents, has increased more than in regions where choice is limited. This result also holds when we account for residential sorting and focus on excess school segregation over and above the segregation that would occur if all pupils attended their assigned schools. The estimates suggest that the increase in school segregation 15 years after the voucher reform that can be attributed to choice is relatively small, and in an international comparison Sweden still ranks as a country with a low-to-medium segregated school system. Our findings are suggestive of the implications for student sorting in other settings where similar voucher schemes are introduced.

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Paper provided by IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy in its series Working Paper Series with number 2015:8.

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Length: 48 pages
Date of creation: 04 May 2015
Publication status: Forthcoming as Böhlmark, Anders, Helena Holmlund and Mikael Lindahl, 'Parental choice, neighbourhood segregation or cream skimming? An analysis of school segregation after a generalized choice reform' in Journal of Poulation Economics, 2016.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:ifauwp:2015_008
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IFAU, P O Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden

Phone: (+46) 18 - 471 70 70
Fax: (+46) 18 - 471 70 71
Web page: http://www.ifau.se/
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  1. Olof Åslund & Oskar Nordström Skans, 2009. "How to measure segregation conditional on the distribution of covariates," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 22(4), pages 971-981, October.
  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. Esther Duflo & Pascaline Dupas & Michael Kremer, 2011. "Peer Effects, Teacher Incentives, and the Impact of Tracking: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation in Kenya," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 1739-1774, August.
  4. Dennis Epple & Richard Romano, 2008. "Educational Vouchers And Cream Skimming," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(4), pages 1395-1435, November.
  5. Rebecca Allen & Anna Vignoles, 2006. "What Should an Index of School Segregation Measure?," CEE Discussion Papers 0060, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
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