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Another Look at the New York City School Voucher Experiment

Alan B. Krueger

Princeton University - Industrial Relations Section; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Pei Zhu


December 2002

IZA Discussion Paper No. 663

This paper reexamines data from the New York City school choice program, the largest and best implemented private school scholarship experiment yet conducted. In the experiment, low-income public school students in grades K-4 were eligible to participate in a series of lotteries for a private school scholarship in May 1997. Data were collected from students and their parents at baseline, and in the spring of each of the next three years. Students with missing baseline test scores, which encompasses all those who were initially in Kindergarten and 11 percent of those initially in grades 1-4, were excluded from previous analyses of achievement, even though these students were tested in the follow-up years. In principle, random assignment would be expected to lead treatment status to be uncorrelated with all baseline characteristics. Including students with missing baseline test scores increases the sample size by 44 percent. For African American students, the only group to show a significant, positive effect of vouchers on achievement in past studies, the difference in average follow-up test scores between the treatment group (those offered a voucher) and control group (those not offered a voucher) becomes statistically insignificant at the .05 level and much smaller if the full sample is used. In addition, the effect of vouchers is found to be sensitive to the particular way race/ethnicity was defined. Previously, race was assigned according to the racial/ethnic category of the child's mother. If children with a Black (non-Hispanic) father are added to the sample of children with a Black (non-Hispanic) mother, the effect of vouchers is smaller and statistically insignificant at conventional levels.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 43

Keywords: Voucher, Education, Human Capital

JEL Classification: I2

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Date posted: January 31, 2003  

Suggested Citation

Krueger, Alan B. and Zhu, Pei, Another Look at the New York City School Voucher Experiment (December 2002). IZA Discussion Paper No. 663. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=372469

Contact Information

Alan B. Krueger (Contact Author)
Princeton University - Industrial Relations Section ( email )
Princeton, NJ 08544-2098
United States
609-258-4046 (Phone)
609-258-2907 (Fax)
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Pei Zhu
MDRC ( email )
19th Floor
16 East 34 Street
New York, NY 10016
United States
Feedback to SSRN

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