Ability Tracking, School Competition, and the Distribution of Educational Benefits

57 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2000 Last revised: 19 Jun 2022

See all articles by Dennis Epple

Dennis Epple

Carnegie Mellon University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Elizabeth Newlon

University of Kentucky

Richard E. Romano

University of Florida - Warrington College of Business Administration - Department of Economics

Date Written: August 2000

Abstract

To study the effects of ability grouping on school competition, we develop a theoretical and computational model of tracking in public and private schools. We examine tracking's consequences for the allocation of students of differing abilities and income within and between public and private schools. Private schools tend to attract the most able and wealthiest students, and rarely track in equilibrium. Public sector schools can maximize attendance by tracking students. Public schools retain a greater proportion of higher-ability students by tracking, but lose more wealthy, lower-ability students to the private sector. Consequently, socioeconomic status is a predictor of track assignment in public schools. For the entire population, public-sector tracking has small aggregate effects on achievement and welfare, but results in significant redistribution from lower- to higher-ability students.

Suggested Citation

Epple, Dennis and Newlon, Elizabeth and Romano, Richard E., Ability Tracking, School Competition, and the Distribution of Educational Benefits (August 2000). NBER Working Paper No. w7854, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=239605

Dennis Epple (Contact Author)

Carnegie Mellon University ( email )

Tepper School of Business
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States
412-268-1536 (Phone)
412-268-7357 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
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Germany

Elizabeth Newlon

University of Kentucky ( email )

Lexington, KY 40546
United States

Richard E. Romano

University of Florida - Warrington College of Business Administration - Department of Economics ( email )

Gainesville, FL 32611-7140
United States
(352) 392-4812 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.cba.ufl.edu/faculty/facultyinfo.asp?WEBID=321

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