IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/15549.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Accountability and Flexibility in Public Schools: Evidence from Boston's Charters and Pilots

Author

Listed:
  • Atila Abdulkadiroglu
  • Joshua Angrist
  • Susan Dynarski
  • Thomas J. Kane
  • Parag Pathak

Abstract

Charter schools are publicly funded but operate outside the regulatory framework and collective bargaining agreements characteristic of traditional public schools. In return for this freedom, charter schools are subject to heightened accountability. This paper estimates the impact of charter school attendance on student achievement using data from Boston, where charter schools enroll a growing share of students. We also evaluate an alternative to the charter model, Boston's pilot schools. These schools have some of the independence of charter schools, but operate within the school district, face little risk of closure, and are covered by many of same collective bargaining provisions as traditional public schools. Estimates using student assignment lotteries show large and significant test score gains for charter lottery winners in middle and high school. In contrast, lottery-based estimates for pilot schools are small and mostly insignificant. The large positive lottery-based estimates for charter schools are similar to estimates constructed using statistical controls in the same sample, but larger than those using statistical controls in a wider sample of schools. The latter are still substantial, however. The estimates for pilot schools are smaller and more variable than those for charters, with some significant negative effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Joshua Angrist & Susan Dynarski & Thomas J. Kane & Parag Pathak, 2009. "Accountability and Flexibility in Public Schools: Evidence from Boston's Charters and Pilots," NBER Working Papers 15549, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15549
    Note: CH ED LS PE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w15549.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hanushek, Eric A. & Kain, John F. & Rivkin, Steven G. & Branch, Gregory F., 2007. "Charter school quality and parental decision making with school choice," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(5-6), pages 823-848, June.
    2. Will Dobbie & Roland G. Fryer, Jr, 2009. "Are High Quality Schools Enough to Close the Achievement Gap? Evidence from a Social Experiment in Harlem," NBER Working Papers 15473, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Julie Berry Cullen & Brian A Jacob & Steven Levitt, 2006. "The Effect of School Choice on Participants: Evidence from Randomized Lotteries," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(5), pages 1191-1230, September.
    4. Booker, Kevin & Gilpatric, Scott M. & Gronberg, Timothy & Jansen, Dennis, 2008. "The effect of charter schools on traditional public school students in Texas: Are children who stay behind left behind?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 123-145, July.
    5. Bettinger, Eric P., 2005. "The effect of charter schools on charter students and public schools," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 133-147, April.
    6. Randall W. Eberts & Kevin Hollenbeck, 2002. "Impact of Charter School Attendance on Student Achievement in Michigan," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 02-80, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    7. Joshua D. Angrist & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2009. "Mostly Harmless Econometrics: An Empiricist's Companion," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 8769.
    8. Abadie, Alberto, 2003. "Semiparametric instrumental variable estimation of treatment response models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 113(2), pages 231-263, April.
    9. Angrist, Joshua D., 1991. "Grouped-data estimation and testing in simple labor-supply models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2-3), pages 243-266, February.
    10. Caroline M. Hoxby & Sonali Murarka, 2009. "Charter Schools in New York City: Who Enrolls and How They Affect Their Students' Achievement," NBER Working Papers 14852, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Margaret Brehm & Scott A. Imberman & Michael Naretta, 2017. "Capitalization of Charter Schools into Residential Property Values," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 12(1), pages 1-27, Winter.
    2. Imberman, Scott A., 2011. "The effect of charter schools on achievement and behavior of public school students," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7), pages 850-863.
    3. Leme, Maria Carolina & Louzano, Paula & Ponczek, Vladimir & Souza, André Portela, 2012. "The impact of structured teaching methods on the quality of education in Brazil," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 850-860.
    4. Yusuke Jinnai, 2015. "How Does School Choice Improve Student Achievement? Estimating School-level Competitive Effects and Student-level Peer Effects," Working Papers EMS_2016_09, Research Institute, International University of Japan.
    5. John D. Singleton, 2019. "Incentives and the Supply of Effective Charter Schools," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(7), pages 2568-2612, July.
    6. Stephen Machin & James Vernoit, 2011. "Changing School Autonomy: Academy Schools and their Introduction to England's Education," CEE Discussion Papers 0123, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
    7. Roland G. Fryer, Jr, 2010. "Racial Inequality in the 21st Century: The Declining Significance of Discrimination," NBER Working Papers 16256, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Dennis Epple & Richard Romano & Ron Zimmer, 2015. "Charter Schools: A Survey of Research on Their Characteristics and Effectiveness," NBER Working Papers 21256, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Chakrabarti, Rajashri & Roy, Joydeep, 2016. "Do charter schools crowd out private school enrollment? Evidence from Michigan," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 88-103.
    10. 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," CEPR Discussion Papers 8272, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, 2015. "Current themes in education policy in the United States," Chapters, in: John Karl Scholz & Hyungypo Moon & Sang-Hyup Lee (ed.), Social Policies in an Age of Austerity, chapter 7, pages 165-180, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    12. Joshua M. Cowen & Marcus A. Winters, 2013. "Do Charters Retain Teachers Differently? Evidence from Elementary Schools in Florida," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 8(1), pages 14-42, January.
    13. Buerger, Christian & Bifulco, Robert, 2019. "The effect of charter schools on districts’ student composition, costs, and efficiency: The case of New York state," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 61-72.
    14. Lovenheim, Michael F. & Walsh, Patrick, 2018. "Does choice increase information? Evidence from online school search behavior," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 91-103.
    15. Booker, Kevin & Gilpatric, Scott M. & Gronberg, Timothy & Jansen, Dennis, 2008. "The effect of charter schools on traditional public school students in Texas: Are children who stay behind left behind?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 123-145, July.
    16. Clément de Chaisemartin & Luc Behaghel, 2020. "Estimating the Effect of Treatments Allocated by Randomized Waiting Lists," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 88(4), pages 1453-1477, July.
    17. Martin Schlotter & Guido Schwerdt & Ludger Woessmann, 2011. "Econometric methods for causal evaluation of education policies and practices: a non-technical guide," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(2), pages 109-137.
    18. Bonilla-Mejía, Leonardo & Galvis-Aponte, Luis Armando, 2014. "Profesionalización docente y calidad de la educación escolar en Colombia," Chapters, in: Sánchez Jabba, Andrés & Otero Cortés, Andrea (ed.), Educación y desarrollo regional en Colombia, chapter 5, pages 161-209, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
    19. David R. Garcia & Lee McIlroy & Rebecca T. Barber, 2008. "Starting Behind: A Comparative Analysis of the Academic Standing of Students Entering Charter Schools," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 89(1), pages 199-216, March.
    20. McLaughlin, Joanne Song, 2017. "Does Communist party membership pay? Estimating the economic returns to party membership in the labor market in China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(4), pages 963-983.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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:nbr:nberwo:15549. 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: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    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.