Vouchers don’t work

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Chile began its experiment in vouchers over 20 years ago. The authors of this study found “no evidence that choice improved average educational outcomes as measured by test scores, repetition rates, and years of schooling.”=========================================
“When Schools Compete, How Do They Compete? An Assessment of
Chile’s Nationwide School Voucher Program”

BY: CHANG-TAI HSIEH
University of California, Berkeley
Department of Economics
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
MIGUEL S. URQUIOLA
Columbia University
Department of Economics

Document: Available from the SSRN Electronic Paper Collection:

http://papers.ssrn.com/paper.taf?abstract_id=453802

Paper ID: NBER Working Paper No. W10008
Date: October 2003

Contact: CHANG-TAI HSIEH
Email: Mailto:chsieh@econ.berkeley.edu
Postal: University of California, Berkeley
Department of Economics
549 Evans Hall #3880
Berkeley, CA 94720-3880 UNITED STATES
Co-Auth: MIGUEL S. URQUIOLA
Email: Mailto:msu2101@columbia.edu
Postal: Columbia University
Department of Economics
420 W. 118th Street
New York, NY 10027 UNITED STATES

Paper Requests:
Full-Text downloads are available from SSRN Online for $5.

ABSTRACT:
In 1981, Chile introduced nationwide school choice by providing
vouchers to any student wishing to attend private school. As a
result, more than 1,000 private schools entered the market, and
the private enrollment rate increased by 20 percentage points,
with greater impacts in larger, more urban, and wealthier
communities. We use this differential impact to measure the
effects of unrestricted choice on educational outcomes. Using
panel data for about 150 municipalities, we find no evidence
that choice improved average educational outcomes as measured by
test scores, repetition rates, and years of schooling. However,
we find evidence that the voucher program led to increased
sorting, as the ‘best’ public school students left for the
private sector.

JEL Classification: I2, L3, O1

10:07 am on October 10, 2003