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School Competition and Efficiency with Publicly Funded Catholic Schools

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  • David Card
  • Martin Dooley
  • Abigail Payne

Abstract

The province of Ontario has two publicly funded school systems: secular schools (known as public schools) that are open to all students, and separate schools that are open to children with Catholic backgrounds. The systems are administered independently and receive equal funding per student. In this paper we use detailed school and student-level data to assess whether competition between the systems leads to improved efficiency. Building on a simple model of school choice, we argue that incentives for effort will be greater in areas where there are more Catholic families, and where these families are less committed to a particular system. To measure the local determinants of cross-system competition we study the effects of school openings on enrollment growth at nearby elementary schools. We find significant cross-system responses to school openings, with a magnitude that is proportional to the fraction of Catholics in the area, and is higher in more rapidly growing areas. We then test whether schools that face greater cross-system competition have higher productivity, as measured by test score gains between 3rd and 6th grade. We estimate a statistically significant but modest-sized impact of potential competition on the growth rate of student achievement. The estimates suggest that extending competition to all students would raise average test scores in 6th grade by 6-8% of a standard deviation.

Suggested Citation

  • David Card & Martin Dooley & Abigail Payne, 2008. "School Competition and Efficiency with Publicly Funded Catholic Schools," NBER Working Papers 14176, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14176
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Competing schools are more efficient
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2009-01-28 23:18:00

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    1. repec:aea:jeclit:v:55:y:2017:i:2:p:441-92 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Anders Böhlmark & Mikael Lindahl, 2015. "Independent Schools and Long-run Educational Outcomes: Evidence from Sweden's Large-scale Voucher Reform," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 82(327), pages 508-551, July.
    3. Pierre André & Jean-Luc Demonsant, 2012. "Koranic Schools in Senegal : A real barrier to formal education?," THEMA Working Papers 2012-46, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
    4. Figlio, D. & Karbownik, K. & Salvanes, K.G., 2016. "Education Research and Administrative Data," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    5. 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.
    6. Nicholas Bloom & Renata Lemos & Raffaella Sadun & John Van Reenen, 2015. "Does Management Matter in schools?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 0(584), pages 647-674, May.
    7. Besley, Timothy J. & Malcomson, James M, 2016. "Choice and Competition in Public Service Provision," CEPR Discussion Papers 11441, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. de Haan, Monique & Leuven, Edwin & Oosterbeek, Hessel, 2011. "Scale Economies Can Offset the Benefits of Competition: Evidence from a School Consolidation Reform in a Universal Voucher System," IZA Discussion Papers 5528, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Timothy Besley & James Malcomson, 2017. "Competition in Public Service Provision: The Role of Not-for-profit Providers," CESifo Working Paper Series 6759, CESifo Group Munich.
    10. Friesen, Jane & Harris, Benjamin Cerf & Woodcock, Simon, 2013. "Open Enrolment and Student Achievement," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2013-46, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 22 Mar 2014.
    11. Gallego Francisco, 2013. "When Does Inter-School Competition Matter? Evidence from the Chilean “Voucher” System," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 13(2), pages 525-562, August.
    12. Diego A. Vera Cossio, 2011. "Enrollment and child labor in Bolivia," Development Research Working Paper Series 11/2011, Institute for Advanced Development Studies.
    13. Gibbons, Stephen & Machin, Stephen & Silva, Olmo, 2013. "Valuing school quality using boundary discontinuities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 15-28.
    14. Michael Baker, 2013. "Industrial actions in schools: strikes and student achievement," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 46(3), pages 1014-1036, August.
    15. Benjamin Feigenberg & Steven Rivkin & Rui Yan, 2017. "Illusory Gains from Chile's Targeted School Voucher Experiment," NBER Working Papers 23178, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    19. Rebecca Allen & Anna Vignoles, 2016. "Can school competition improve standards? The case of faith schools in England," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 50(3), pages 959-973, May.
    20. Will Dobbie & Roland G. Fryer, Jr, 2011. "Getting Beneath the Veil of Effective Schools: Evidence from New York City," NBER Working Papers 17632, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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