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Does School Competition Matter? Effects of a Large-Scale School Choice Reform on Student Performance


  • Ahlin, Åsa

    (Department of Economics)


The effect of a general school choice reform on student performance is studied in a Swedish institutional setting. A rich set of individual level data allows estimation of a value added specification, mitigating problems with omission of relevant variables. Increased school competition is shown to have statistically significant positive effects on student performance in mathematics, but no significant effects in English and Swedish. Interacting school competition with student characteristics, the results indicate that immigrant students and those in need of special education tend to gain more from increased school competition than others, while adverse effects on students from low education families are found in terms of English and Swedish performance. However, quantile regressions indicate homogeneous effects on low and high performing students.

Suggested Citation

  • Ahlin, Åsa, 2003. "Does School Competition Matter? Effects of a Large-Scale School Choice Reform on Student Performance," Working Paper Series 2003:2, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:uunewp:2003_002

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2000. "Does Competition among Public Schools Benefit Students and Taxpayers?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1209-1238, December.
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    6. repec:mpr:mprres:3180 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Joshua Angrist & Eric Bettinger & Erik Bloom & Elizabeth King & Michael Kremer, 2002. "Vouchers for Private Schooling in Colombia: Evidence from a Randomized Natural Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1535-1558, December.
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    1. Om viljan att lägga skattemedel på skolan
      by bergh in Berghs Betraktelser on 2009-09-01 16:24:05


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    1. repec:aea:jeclit:v:55:y:2017:i:2:p:441-92 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Willmore, Larry, 2008. "Basic education as a human right redux," MPRA Paper 40478, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. 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.
    4. Eyles, Andrew & Hupkau, Claudia & Machin, Stephen, 2016. "School reforms and pupil performance," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 9-19.
    5. 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.
    6. Dennis Epple & Richard E. Romano & Miguel Urquiola, 2017. "School Vouchers: A Survey of the Economics Literature," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 55(2), pages 441-492, June.
    7. Böhlmark, Anders & Lindahl, Mikael, 2007. "The Impact of School Choice on Pupil Achievement, Segregation and Costs: Swedish Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 2786, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Andrew Eyles & Stephen Machin & Olmo Silva, 2017. "Academies 2: the new batch - the changing nature of academy schools in England," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 79988, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    9. Verena Wondratschek & Karin Edmark & Markus Frolich, 2013. "The Short- and Long-term Effects of School Choice on Student Outcomes - Evidence from a School Choice Reform in Sweden," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 111-112, pages 71-101.
    10. Böhlmark, Anders & Lindahl, Mikael, 2008. "Does School Privatization Improve Educational Achievement? Evidence from Sweden's Voucher Reform," IZA Discussion Papers 3691, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Andrew Eyles & Stephen Machin & Olmo Silva, 2015. "Academies 2: The New Batch," CEP Discussion Papers dp1370, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    12. Kaire Põder & Triin Lauri, 2014. "Will Choice Hurt? Compared to What? School Choice Experiment in Estonia," TUT Economic Research Series 11, Department of Finance and Economics, Tallinn University of Technology.
    13. Mörk, Eva & Ahlin, Åsa, 2007. "Effects of decentralization on school resources: Sweden 1989-2002," Working Paper Series 2007:9, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    14. Oliver Himmler, 2009. "The Effects of School Competition on Academic Achievement and Grading Standards," CESifo Working Paper Series 2676, CESifo Group Munich.
    15. Ahlin, Åsa & Mörk, Eva, 2008. "Effects of decentralization on school resources," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 276-284, June.
    16. Victor Lavy, 2006. "From Forced Busing to Free Choice in Public Schools: Quasi-Experimental Evidence of Individual and General Effects," NBER Working Papers 11969, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Rebecca Diamond & Petra Persson, 2016. "The Long-term Consequences of Teacher Discretion in Grading of High-stakes Tests," NBER Working Papers 22207, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Andreas Bergh, 2014. "Sweden and the Revival of the Capitalist Welfare State," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 15717.

    More about this item


    Private school competition; school choice; student performance;

    JEL classification:

    • H42 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Publicly Provided Private Goods
    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • L19 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Other

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