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Tiebout Choice and the Voucher

  • Eric J. Brunner

    (Quinnipiac University and University of Connecticut)

  • Jennifer Imazeki

This paper examines who is likely to gain and who is likely to lose under a universal voucher program. Following Epple and Romano (1998, 2003), and Nechyba (2000, 2003a), we focus on the idea that gains and losses under a universal voucher depend on two effects: changes in peer group composition and changes in housing values. We show that the direction and magnitude of each of these effects hinges critically on market structure, i.e., the amount of school choice that already exists in the public sector. In markets with little or no Tiebout choice, potential changes in peer group composition create an incentive for high-socioeconomic (SES) households to vote for the voucher and for low-SES households to vote against voucher. In contrast, in markets with significant Tiebout choice, potential changes in housing values create an incentive for high-SES households to vote against the voucher and for low-SES households to vote for the voucher. Using data on vote outcomes from California's 2000 voucher initiative, we find evidence consistent with those predictions.

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Paper provided by University of Connecticut, Department of Economics in its series Working papers with number 2006-10.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2006-10
Note: : For helpful comments on a previous draft of this paper, we are indebted to Lawrence Kenny, Brian Knight, Jon Sonstelie, Steve Ross, Kim Rueben, Miguel Urquiola, and seminar and meeting participants at Columbia University, New York University, the University of Connecticut, the University of Kentucky, the Public Policy Institute of California, the American Education Finance Association, and the Southern Economic Association.
Contact details of provider: Postal: University of Connecticut 365 Fairfield Way, Unit 1063 Storrs, CT 06269-1063
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Web page: http://www.econ.uconn.edu/

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  1. Thomas J. Nechyba, 2003. "Introducing School Choice into Multidistrict Public School Systems," NBER Chapters, in: The Economics of School Choice, pages 145-194 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Figlio, David N. & Stone, Joe A., 2001. "Can Public Policy Affect Private School Cream Skimming?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 240-266, March.
  3. Miguel Urquiola, 2005. "Does School Choice Lead to Sorting? Evidence from Tiebout Variation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1310-1326, September.
  4. David Brasington & Don Haurin, . "Capitalization of Parent, School, and Peer Group Components of School Quality into House Price," Departmental Working Papers 2005-04, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.
  5. Epple, Dennis & Platt, Glenn J., 1998. "Equilibrium and Local Redistribution in an Urban Economy when Households Differ in both Preferences and Incomes," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 23-51, January.
  6. Dennis Epple & David Figlio & Richard Romano, 2000. "Competition Between Private and Public Schools: Testing Stratification and Pricing Predictions," NBER Working Papers 7956, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Dennis Epple & Thomas Romer & Holger Sieg, 2001. "Interjurisdictional Sorting and Majority Rule: An Empirical Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(6), pages 1437-1465, November.
  8. John M. Clapp & Anupam Nanda & Stephen L. Ross, 2005. "Which School Attributes Matter? The Influence of School District Performance and Demographic Composition on Property Values," Working papers 2005-26, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2007.
  9. Patrick Bayer & Fernando Ferreira & Robert McMillan, 2004. "Tiebout Sorting, Social Multipliers and the Demand for School Quality," NBER Working Papers 10871, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Patrick Bayer & Fernando Ferreira & Robert McMillan, 2007. "A Unified Framework for Measuring Preferences for Schools and Neighborhoods," Working Papers 07-27, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  11. Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard E, 1998. "Competition between Private and Public Schools, Vouchers, and Peer-Group Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 33-62, March.
  12. Jesse M. Rothstein, 2006. "Good Principals or Good Peers? Parental Valuation of School Characteristics, Tiebout Equilibrium, and the Incentive Effects of Competition among Jurisdictions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1333-1350, September.
  13. Dennis Epple & Holger Sieg, 1999. "Estimating Equilibrium Models of Local Jurisdictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(4), pages 645-681, August.
  14. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2000. "Does Competition among Public Schools Benefit Students and Taxpayers?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1209-1238, December.
  15. Reback, Randall, 2005. "House prices and the provision of local public services: capitalization under school choice programs," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 275-301, March.
  16. Lankford, Hamilton & Wyckoff, James, 2001. "Who Would Be Left Behind by Enhanced Private School Choice?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 288-312, September.
  17. Eric J. Brunner & Jon Sonstelie, 2006. "California's School Finance Reform: An Experiment in Fiscal Federalism," Working papers 2006-09, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  18. Bogart, William T. & Cromwell, Brian A., 2000. "How Much Is a Neighborhood School Worth?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 280-305, March.
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