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Does School Choice Increase School Quality?

  • George M. Holmes
  • Jeff DeSimone
  • Nicholas G. Rupp

Federal No Child Left Behind' legislation, which enables students of low-performing schools to exercise public school choice, exemplies a widespread belief that competing for students will spur public schools to higher achievement. We investigate how the introduction of school choice in North Carolina, via a dramatic increase in the number of charter schools across the state, affects the performance of traditional public schools on statewide tests. We find test score gains from competition that are robust to a variety of specifications. The introduction of charter school competition causes an approximate one percent increase in the score, which constitutes about one quarter of the average yearly growth.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9683.

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Date of creation: May 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Advances in Applied Microeconomics Volume 14. Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2006.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9683
Note: ED
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  1. 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.
  2. Caroline Minter Hoxby, 1994. "Does Competition Among Public Schools Benefit Students and Taxpayers?," NBER Working Papers 4979, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1999. "Using Maimonides' Rule To Estimate The Effect Of Class Size On Scholastic Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 533-575, May.
  4. Betts, Julian R, 2001. "The Impact of School Resources on Women's Earnings and Educational Attainment: Findings from the National Longitudinal Survey of Young Women," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(3), pages 635-57, July.
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  6. Geske, Terry G. & Davis, Douglas R. & Hingle, Patricia L., 1997. "Charter Schools: A Viable Public School Choice Option?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 15-23, February.
  7. Betts, Julian, 2000. "The Impact of School Resources on Women's Earnings and Educational Attainment: Findings from the National Longitudinal Survey of Young Women," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt6nx050kp, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  8. Blair, John P. & Staley, Sam, 1995. "Quality competition and public schools: Further evidence," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 193-198, June.
  9. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
  10. Taber, Christopher R., 2000. "Semiparametric identification and heterogeneity in discrete choice dynamic programming models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 201-229, June.
  11. Alderman, Harold & Orazem, Peter & Paterno, Elizabeth M., 2001. "School Quality, School Cost, and the Public/Private School Choices of Low-Income Households in Pakistan," Staff General Research Papers 1970, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  12. Eric A. Hanushek & Steven G. Rivkin & Lori L. Taylor, 1996. "Aggregation and the Estimated Effects of School Resources," NBER Working Papers 5548, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. George M. Holmes, . "The Effect of Charter School Competition on Traditional School Quality," Working Papers 0107, East Carolina University, Department of Economics.
  14. Ai, Chunrong & Norton, Edward C., 2000. "Standard errors for the retransformation problem with heteroscedasticity," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(5), pages 697-718, September.
  15. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2002. "School Choice and School Productivity (or Could School Choice be a Tide that Lifts All Boats?)," NBER Working Papers 8873, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Eric A. Hanushek, 1979. "Conceptual and Empirical Issues in the Estimation of Educational Production Functions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(3), pages 351-388.
  17. Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Peer Effects in the Classroom: Learning from Gender and Race Variation," NBER Working Papers 7867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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