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The Impact of School Choice on Pupil Achievement, Segregation and Costs: Swedish Evidence

Author

Listed:
  • Böhlmark, Anders

    () (SOFI, Stockholm University)

  • Lindahl, Mikael

    () (University of Gothenburg)

Abstract

This paper evaluates school choice at the compulsory-school level by assessing a reform implemented in Sweden in 1992, which opened up for publicly funded but privately operated schools. In many local school markets, this reform led to a significant increase in the quantity of such schools as well as in the share of pupils attending them. We estimate the impact of this increase in private enrolment on the average achievement of all pupils using within-municipality variation over time, and controlling for differential pre-reform municipality trends. We find that an increase in the private-school share by 10 percentage points increases average pupil achievement by almost 1 percentile rank point. We show that this total effect can be interpreted as the sum of a private-school attendance effect and a competition effect. The former effect, which is identified using variation in school choice among siblings, is found to be only a small part of the total effect. This suggests that the main part of the achievement effect is due to more competition in the school sector, forcing schools to improve their quality. We use grade point average as outcome variable. A comparison with test data suggests that our results are not driven by differential grade-setting standards in private and public schools. We further find that more competition from private schools increases school costs. There is also some evidence of sorting of pupils along socioeconomic and ethnic lines.

Suggested Citation

  • 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).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2786
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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.
    2. 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.
    3. Sund, Krister, 2007. "Estimating Peer Effects in Swedish High School using School, Teacher, and Student Fixed Effects," Working Paper Series 8/2007, Stockholm University, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
    4. Cullen, Julie Berry & Jacob, Brian A. & Levitt, Steven D., 2005. "The impact of school choice on student outcomes: an analysis of the Chicago Public Schools," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 729-760, June.
    5. Miguel Urquiola, 2005. "Does School Choice Lead to Sorting? Evidence from Tiebout Variation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1310-1326, September.
    6. Martin Sˆderstrˆm & Roope Uusitalo, 2010. "School Choice and Segregation: Evidence from an Admission Reform," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 112(1), pages 55-76, March.
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    8. 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.
    9. Joshua Angrist & Eric Bettinger & Michael Kremer, 2006. "Long-Term Educational Consequences of Secondary School Vouchers: Evidence from Administrative Records in Colombia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 847-862, June.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. On the Swedish voucher system
      by Tino in Super-Economy on 2011-03-25 21:40:00

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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. Krzysztof Karbownik, 2016. "The Effects of Student Composition on Teacher Turnover: Evidence from an Admission Reform," CESifo Working Paper Series 6133, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Eyles, Andrew & Hupkau, Claudia & Machin, Stephen, 2016. "School reforms and pupil performance," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 9-19.
    6. Hinnerich, Björn Tyrefors & Vlachos, Jonas, 2017. "The impact of upper-secondary voucher school attendance on student achievement. Swedish evidence using external and internal evaluations," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 1-14.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. 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).
    10. Andrew Eyles & Stephen Machin & Olmo Silva, 2015. "Academies 2: The New Batch," CEP Discussion Papers dp1370, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    11. Burgess, Simon, 2016. "Human Capital and Education: The State of the Art in the Economics of Education," IZA Discussion Papers 9885, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Sjögren, Anna, 2010. "Graded Children – Evidence of Longrun Consequences of School Grades from a Nationwide Reform," Working Paper Series 839, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    13. Karbownik, Krzysztof, 2014. "Do changes in student quality affect teacher mobility? Evidence from an admission reform," Working Paper Series 2014:15, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    14. Karbownik, Krzysztof, 2014. "The determinants of teacher mobility in Sweden," Working Paper Series 2014:13, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    15. Gabriel Heller Sahlgren, 2014. "Handing Over the School Keys: The Impact of Privatisation on Education Quality," Economic Affairs, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(2), pages 196-210, June.
    16. Karbownik, Krzysztof, 2014. "Job mobility among high-skilled and low-skilled teachers," Working Paper Series 2014:14, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    school-choice reform; private-school competition; pupil achievement; segregation;

    JEL classification:

    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General

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