NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Beyond the Classroom: The Implications of School Vouchers for Church Finances

Daniel M. Hungerman, Kevin J. Rinz, Jay Frymark

NBER Working Paper No. 23159
Issued in February 2017
NBER Program(s):Children, Economics of Education, Law and Economics, Public Economics

Governments have used vouchers to spend billions of dollars on private education; much of this spending has gone to religiously-affiliated schools. We explore the possibility that vouchers could create a financial windfall for religious organizations operating private schools and in doing so impact the spiritual, moral, and social fabric of communities. We use a dataset of Catholic-parish finances from Milwaukee that includes information on both Catholic schools and the parishes that run them. We show that vouchers are now a dominant source of funding for many churches; parishes in our sample running voucher-accepting schools get more revenue from vouchers than from worshipers. We also find that voucher expansion prevents church closures and mergers. Despite these results, we fail to find evidence that vouchers promote religious behavior: voucher expansion causes significant declines in church donations and church spending on non-educational religious purposes. The meteoric growth of vouchers appears to offer financial stability for congregations while at the same time diminishing their religious activities.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from SSRN.com ($5) for electronic delivery.

Access to NBER Papers

You are eligible for a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a ".GOV" domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.

If you usually get free papers at work/university but do not at home, you can either connect to your work VPN or proxy (if any) or elect to have a link to the paper emailed to your work email address below. The email address must be connected to a subscribing college, university, or other subscribing institution. Gmail and other free email addresses will not have access.

E-mail:

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w23159

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Bound, Khanna, and Morales w23153 Understanding the Economic Impact of the H-1B Program on the U.S.
Epple, Romano, and Urquiola w21523 School Vouchers: A Survey of the Economics Literature
Blanchard, Lorenzoni, and L'Huillier w23160 Short-Run Effects of Lower Productivity Growth. A Twist on the Secular Stagnation Hypothesis
Feenstra, Xu, and Antoniades w23161 What is the Price of Tea in China? Towards the Relative Cost of Living in Chinese and U.S. Cities
House, Proebsting, and Tesar w23147 Austerity in the Aftermath of the Great Recession
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us