Do Charter Schools Crowd Out Private School Enrollment? Evidence from Michigan

54 Pages Posted: 15 Sep 2010 Last revised: 11 Sep 2012

See all articles by Rajashri Chakrabarti

Rajashri Chakrabarti

Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Joydeep Roy

Georgetown University; Economic Policy Institute (DC)

Date Written: September 1, 2010


Charter schools have been one of the most important dimensions of recent school reform measures in the United States. Currently, there are more than 5,000 charter schools spread across forty U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Though there have been numerous studies on the effects of charter schools, these have mostly been confined to analyzing their effects on student achievement, student demographic composition, parental satisfaction, and the competitive effects on regular public schools. This study departs from the existing literature by investigating the effect of charter schools on enrollment in private schools. To investigate this issue empirically, we focus on the state of Michigan, where there was a significant spread of charter schools in the 1990s. Using data on private school enrollment from biennial National Center for Education Statistics private school surveys, and using a fixed-effects as well as instrumental-variables strategy that exploits exogenous variation from Michigan charter law, we investigate the effect of charter school penetration on private school enrollment. We find robust evidence of a decline in enrollment in private schools—but the effect is only modest in size. We do not find evidence that enrollments in Catholic or other religious schools suffered more relative to those in nonreligious private schools

Keywords: charters, private schools, instrumental variables

JEL Classification: H4, I21, I28

Suggested Citation

Chakrabarti, Rajashri and Roy, Joydeep, Do Charter Schools Crowd Out Private School Enrollment? Evidence from Michigan (September 1, 2010). FRB of New York Staff Report No. 472, Available at SSRN: or

Rajashri Chakrabarti (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Bank of New York ( email )

33 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10045
United States


Joydeep Roy

Georgetown University ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States

Economic Policy Institute (DC) ( email )

1660 L Street NW, Suite 1200
Washington, DC 20036
United States

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