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A Model of Multiple Districts and Private Schools: The Role of Mobility, Targeting, and Private School Vouchers

  • Thomas J. Nechyba

This paper presents a multi-district model that can be calibrated to data reflecting housing market conditions, public school finance mechanisms and private school markets. Simulations are undertaken to investigate the impact of private school vouchers. Households that differ in both their income and in the ability level of their children choose between school districts, between neighborhoods within their school district, and between the local public school or a menu of private school alternatives. Local public school quality within a district is endogenously determined by a combination of the average peer quality of public school attending children as well as local property and state income tax supported spending. Financial support (above a required state minimum) is set by local majority rule. Finally, there exists the potential for a private school market composed of competitive schools that face production technologies similar to those of public schools but that set tuition and admissions policies to maximize profits. In this model, it is demonstrated that school district targeted vouchers are similar in their impact to non-targeted vouchers but vastly different from vouchers targeted to low income households. Furthermore, strong migration effects are shown to significantly improve the likely equity consequences of voucher programs.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7239.

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Date of creation: Jul 1999
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Publication status: published as Nechyba, Thomas J. "Mobility, Targeting, And Private-School Vouchers," American Economic Review, 2000, v90(1,Mar), 130-146.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7239
Note: PE
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  13. Eric A. Hanushek, 1998. "Conclusions and controversies about the effectiveness of school resources," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Mar, pages 11-27.
  14. Elizabeth M. Caucutt, 2001. "Peer group effects in applied general equilibrium," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 25-51.
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  17. Downes, Thomas A & Greenstein, Shane M, 2002. "Entry into the Schooling Market: How Is the Behaviour of Private Suppliers Influenced by Public Sector Decisions?," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(4), pages 341-71, October.
  18. Hoyt, William H. & Lee, Kangoh, 1998. "Educational vouchers, welfare effects, and voting," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 211-228, June.
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  25. Zimmerman, David J, 1992. "Regression toward Mediocrity in Economic Stature," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 409-29, June.
  26. Rose-Ackerman, Susan, 1979. "Market models of local government: Exit, voting, and the land market," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 319-337, July.
  27. Dennis Epple & Elizabeth Newlon & Richard Romano, 2000. "Ability Tracking, School Competition, and the Distribution of Educational Benefits," NBER Working Papers 7854, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Hanushek, Eric A, 1986. "The Economics of Schooling: Production and Efficiency in Public Schools," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 1141-77, September.
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  30. Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard E., 1996. "Ends against the middle: Determining public service provision when there are private alternatives," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(3), pages 297-325, November.
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