IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

What determines private school choice? a comparison between the UK and Australia


  • Lorraine Dearden

    () (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Department of Social Science, University College London)

  • Chris Ryan

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

  • Luke Sibieta

    () (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Institute for Fiscal Studies)


This paper compares patterns of private school attendance in the UK and Australia. About 6.5% of school children in the UK attend a private school, while 33% do so in Australia. We use comparable household panel data from the two countries to model attendance at a private school at age 15 or 16 as a function of household income and other child and parental characteristics. As one might expect, we observe a strong effect of household income on private school attendance. The addition of other household characteristics reduces this income elasticity, and reveals a strong degree of intergenerational transmission in both countries, with children being 8 percentage points more likely to attend a private school if one of their parents attended one in the UK, and anywhere up to 20 percentage points more likely in Australia. The analysis also reveals significant effects of parental education level, political preferences, religious background and the number of siblings on private school attendance.

Suggested Citation

  • Lorraine Dearden & Chris Ryan & Luke Sibieta, 2010. "What determines private school choice? a comparison between the UK and Australia," IFS Working Papers W10/22, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:10/22

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Long, James E & Toma, Eugenia F, 1988. "The Determinants of Private School Attendance, 1970-1980," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(2), pages 351-357, May.
    3. Buddin, Richard J. & Cordes, Joseph J. & Kirby, Sheila Nataraj, 1998. "School Choice in California: Who Chooses Private Schools?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 110-134, July.
    4. Thomas J. Nechyba, 2003. "Introducing School Choice into Multidistrict Public School Systems," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of School Choice, pages 145-194 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Windmeijer, Frank, 2005. "A finite sample correction for the variance of linear efficient two-step GMM estimators," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 126(1), pages 25-51, May.
    6. Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard E, 1998. "Competition between Private and Public Schools, Vouchers, and Peer-Group Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 33-62, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. John Glen & Joseph G. Nellis, 2010. "“The Price You Pay”: The Impact of State-Funded Secondary School Performance on Residential Property Values in England," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 57(4), pages 405-428, December.

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:10/22. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Emma Hyman). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.