Distributional Effects of a School Voucher Program: Evidence from New York City
We use quantile treatment effects estimation to examine the consequences of a school voucher experiment across the distribution of student achievement. In 1997, the School Choice Scholarship Foundation granted $1,400 private school vouchers to a randomly-selected group of low-income New York City elementary school students. Prior research indicates that this program had no average effect on student achievement. If vouchers boost achievement at one part of the distribution and hurt achievement at another, zero or small mean effects may obscure theoretically important but offsetting program effects. Drawing upon prior research related to Catholic schools and school choice, we derive three hypotheses regarding the program's distributional consequences. Our analyses suggest that the program had no significant effect at any point in the skill distribution.
Research reported in this publication was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number P01HD065704. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. We thank Mathematica Policy Research for making the restricted use data available. We are grateful to Greg Duncan and other members of the UC Irvine Network on Interventions in Development and our INID Advisory Board members Jeff Smith, Susanna Loeb, Sean Reardon, Robert Crosnoe, and Jacquelynne Eccles; as well as to Christina Tuttle and Steve Glazerman, and seminar and conference participants for helpful comments. We also thank Kevin Williams for his excellent research assistance. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness Volume 8, Issue 3, 2015 Distributional Analysis in Educational Evaluation: A Case Study from the New York City Voucher Program DOI: 10.1080/19345747.2014.921259 Marianne Bitlera*, Thurston Dominaa, Emily Pennera & Hilary Hoynesb pages 419-450