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Distributional Effects of a School Voucher Program: Evidence from New York City

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  • Marianne P. Bitler
  • Thurston Domina
  • Emily K. Penner
  • Hilary W. Hoynes

Abstract

We use quantile treatment effects estimation to examine the consequences of a school voucher experiment across the distribution of student achievement. In 1997, the School Choice Scholarship Foundation granted $1,400 private school vouchers to a randomly-selected group of low-income New York City elementary school students. Prior research indicates that this program had no average effect on student achievement. If vouchers boost achievement at one part of the distribution and hurt achievement at another, zero or small mean effects may obscure theoretically important but offsetting program effects. Drawing upon prior research related to Catholic schools and school choice, we derive three hypotheses regarding the program's distributional consequences. Our analyses suggest that the program had no significant effect at any point in the skill distribution.

Suggested Citation

  • Marianne P. Bitler & Thurston Domina & Emily K. Penner & Hilary W. Hoynes, 2013. "Distributional Effects of a School Voucher Program: Evidence from New York City," NBER Working Papers 19271, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19271
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mark Schneider & Gregory Elacqua & Jack Buckley, 2006. "School choice in Chile: Is it class or the classroom?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(3), pages 577-601.
    2. Rajashri Chakrabarti, 2013. "Vouchers, Public School Response, And The Role Of Incentives: Evidence From Florida," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 500-526, January.
    3. William G. Howell & Patrick J. Wolf & David E. Campbell & Paul E. Peterson, 2002. "School vouchers and academic performance: results from three randomized field trials," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(2), pages 191-217.
    4. Patrick J. Wolf & Brian Kisida & Babette Gutmann & Michael Puma & Nada Eissa & Lou Rizzo, 2013. "School Vouchers and Student Outcomes: Experimental Evidence from Washington, DC," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 32(2), pages 246-270, March.
    5. Joshua D. Angrist & Susan M. Dynarski & Thomas J. Kane & Parag A. Pathak & Christopher R. Walters, 2012. "Who Benefits from KIPP?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(4), pages 837-860, September.
    6. 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.
    7. William N. Evans & Robert M. Schwab, 1995. "Finishing High School and Starting College: Do Catholic Schools Make a Difference?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(4), pages 941-974.
    8. Laura M. Argys & Daniel I. Rees & Dominic J. Brewer, 1996. "Detracking America's schools: Equity at zero cost?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(4), pages 623-645.
    9. Neal, Derek, 1997. "The Effects of Catholic Secondary Schooling on Educational Achievement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 98-123, January.
    10. Atila Abdulkadiroğlu & Joshua D. Angrist & Susan M. Dynarski & Thomas J. Kane & Parag A. Pathak, 2011. "Accountability and Flexibility in Public Schools: Evidence from Boston's Charters And Pilots," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 699-748.
    11. Joshua D. Angrist & Susan M. Dynarski & Thomas J. Kane & Parag A. Pathak & Christopher R. Walters, 2010. "Inputs and Impacts in Charter Schools: KIPP Lynn," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 239-243, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Miguel Urquiola, 2015. "Progress and challenges in achieving an evidence-based education policy in Latin America and the Caribbean," Latin American Economic Review, Springer;Centro de Investigaciòn y Docencia Económica (CIDE), vol. 24(1), pages 1-30, December.

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    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education

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