School Vouchers and Student Achievement: Recent Evidence, Remaining Questions

56 Pages Posted: 15 Sep 2008

See all articles by Lisa Barrow

Lisa Barrow

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

Cecilia E. Rouse

Princeton University - Industrial Relations Section; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: August 6, 2008

Abstract

In this article, we review the empirical evidence on the impact of education vouchers on student achievement, and briefly discuss the evidence from other forms of school choice. The best research to date finds relatively small achievement gains for students offered education vouchers, most of which are not statistically different from zero. Further, what little evidence exists regarding the potential for public schools to respond to increased competitive pressure generated by vouchers suggests that one should remain wary that large improvements would result from a more comprehensive voucher system. The evidence from other forms of school choice is also consistent with this conclusion. Many questions remain unanswered, however, including whether vouchers have longer-run impacts on outcomes such as graduation rates, college enrollment, or even future wages, and whether vouchers might nevertheless provide a cost-neutral alternative to our current system of public education provision at the elementary and secondary school level.

Keywords: school competition, school efficiency, school choice, academic achievement

JEL Classification: H0, I2, J0

Suggested Citation

Barrow, Lisa and Rouse, Cecilia E., School Vouchers and Student Achievement: Recent Evidence, Remaining Questions (August 6, 2008). FRB of Chicago Working Paper No. 2008-08. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1267346 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1267346

Lisa Barrow (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago ( email )

230 South LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60604
United States
312-322-5073 (Phone)
312-322-2357 (Fax)

Cecilia E. Rouse

Princeton University - Industrial Relations Section ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-2098
United States
609-258-4042 (Phone)
609-258-2907 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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