School Finance Reform and the Distribution of Student Achievement
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.
This research was supported by funding from the Spencer Foundation and the Washington Center for Equitable Growth. We are grateful to Apurba Chakraborty, Elora Ditton, and Patrick Lapid for excellent research assistance. We thank Julie Cullen, Tom Downes, Kirabo Jackson, Rucker Johnson, Richard Rothstein, Max Schanzenbach, and conference and seminar participants at APPAM, AEFP, Bocconi, Brookings, Chicago, Erasmus, Wisconsin (IRP), LSE, New York University, Northwestern, Princeton, RAND, Teachers’ College, Texas A&M, Warwick, and the 2015 Stavanger-Bergen-Berkeley workshop for helpful comments and discussions. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Julien Lafortune & Jesse Rothstein & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, 2018. "School Finance Reform and the Distribution of Student Achievement," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, vol 10(2), pages 1-26. citation courtesy of