NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Danielle Li

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Working Papers

October 2009Cheaper By the Dozen: Using Sibling Discounts at Catholic Schools to Estimate the Price Elasticity of Private School Attendance
with Susan Dynarski, Jonathan Gruber: w15461
The effect of vouchers on sorting between private and public schools depends upon the price elasticity of demand for private schooling. Estimating this elasticity is empirically challenging because prices and quantities are jointly determined in the market for private schooling. We exploit a unique and previously undocumented source of variation in private school tuition to estimate this key parameter. A majority of Catholic elementary schools offer discounts to families that enroll more than one child in the school in a given year. Catholic school tuition costs therefore depend upon the interaction of the number and spacing of a family’s children with the pricing policies of the local school. This within-neighborhood variation in tuition prices allows us to control for unobserved determin...

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