NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Julien M. Lafortune

Department of Economics
University of California, Berkeley
530 Evans Hall #3880
Berkeley, CA 94720

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

February 2016School Finance Reform and the Distribution of Student Achievement
with Jesse Rothstein, Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach: w22011
We study the impact of post-1990 school finance reforms, during the so-called “adequacy” era, on absolute and relative spending and achievement in low-income school districts. Using an event study research design that exploits the apparent randomness of reform timing, we show that reforms lead to sharp, immediate, and sustained increases in spending in low-income school districts. Using representative samples from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, we find that reforms cause increases in the achievement of students in these districts, phasing in gradually over the years following the reform. The implied effect of school resources on educational achievement is large.
 
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