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Do Vouchers Lead to Sorting under Random Private School Selection? Evidence from the Milwaukee Voucher Program

Author

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  • Rajashri Chakrabarti

    (Harvard University)

Abstract

This paper analyzes the impact of voucher design on student sorting, and more specifically investigates whether there are feasible ways of designing vouchers that can reduce or eliminate student sorting. It studies these questions in the context of the first five years of the Milwaukee voucher program. Much of the existing literature investigates the question of sorting where private schools can screen students. However, the publicly funded U.S. voucher programs require private schools to accept all students unless oversubscribed and to pick students randomly if oversubscribed. This paper focuses on two crucial features of the Milwaukee voucher program - random private school selection and the absence of topping up of vouchers. In the context of a theoretical model, it argues that random private school selection alone cannot prevent student sorting. However, random private school selection coupled with the absence of topping up can preclude sorting by income, although there is still sorting by ability. Sorting by ability is not caused here by private school selection, but rather by parental self selection. Using a logit model and student level data from the Milwaukee voucher program for 1990-94, it then establishes that random selection has indeed taken place so that it provides an appropriate setting to test the corresponding theoretical predictions in the data. Next, using several alternative logit specifications, it demonstrates that these predictions are validated empirically. These findings have important policy implications.

Suggested Citation

  • Rajashri Chakrabarti, 2005. "Do Vouchers Lead to Sorting under Random Private School Selection? Evidence from the Milwaukee Voucher Program," Public Economics 0512004, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwppe:0512004
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Chakrabarti Rajashri, 2013. "Impact of Voucher Design on Public School Performance: Evidence from Florida and Milwaukee Voucher Programs," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 14(1), pages 349-394, July.
    2. Song, Yang, 2019. "Sorting, school performance and quality: Evidence from China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 238-261.
    3. Chakrabarti, Rajashri, 2008. "Can increasing private school participation and monetary loss in a voucher program affect public school performance? Evidence from Milwaukee," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1371-1393, June.
    4. Behrang Kamali-Shahdadi, 2016. "Sorting and Peer Effects," PIER Working Paper Archive 16-002, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 08 Feb 2016.
    5. Fabre, Anaïs & Straub, Stéphane, 2019. "The Impact of Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) in Infrastructure, Health and Education: A Review," TSE Working Papers 19-986, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), revised Sep 2021.
    6. Mauro Mediavilla & María-Jesús Mancebón & José-María Gómez-Sancho & Luis Pires Jiménez, 2019. "Bilingual education and school choice: a case study of public secondary schools in the Spanish region of Madrid," Working Papers 2019/01, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    7. Chakrabarti Rajashri, 2013. "Impact of Voucher Design on Public School Performance: Evidence from Florida and Milwaukee Voucher Programs," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 13(1), pages 349-394, January.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Vouchers; Sorting; Cream Skimming; Private Schools;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H0 - Public Economics - - General
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

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