Charters Without Lotteries: Testing Takeovers in New Orleans and Boston

69 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2015

See all articles by Atila Abdulkadiroglu

Atila Abdulkadiroglu

Duke University - Department of Economics

Joshua D. Angrist

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Peter Hull

Microsoft Corporation - Microsoft Research New England; University of Chicago

Parag A. Pathak

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Abstract

Lottery estimates suggest oversubscribed urban charter schools boost student achievement markedly. But these estimates needn't capture treatment effects for students who haven't applied to charter schools or for students attending charters for which demand is weak. This paper reports estimates of the effects of charter school attendance on middle-schoolers in charter takeovers in New Orleans and Boston. Takeovers are traditional public schools that close and then re-open as charter schools. Students enrolled in schools designated for closure are eligible for "grandfathering" into the new schools; that is, they are guaranteed seats. We use this fact to construct instrumental variables estimates of the effects of passive charter attendance: the grandfathering instrument compares students at schools designated for takeover with students who appear similar at baseline and who were attending similar schools not yet closed, while adjusting for possible violations of the exclusion restriction in such comparisons. Estimates for a large sample of takeover schools in the New Orleans Recovery School District show substantial gains from takeover enrollment. In Boston, where we can compare grandfathering and lottery estimates for a middle school, grandfathered students see achievement gains at least as large as the gains for students assigned seats in lotteries. A non-charter Boston turnaround intervention that had much in common with the charter treatment generates gains as large as those seen for takeovers, but other more modest turnaround interventions produce much smaller effects.

Keywords: instrumental variables, education reform, education production, compliers

JEL Classification: I21, I28, J24, C26, C36

Suggested Citation

Abdulkadiroglu, Atila and Angrist, Joshua and Hull, Peter and Pathak, Parag A., Charters Without Lotteries: Testing Takeovers in New Orleans and Boston. IZA Discussion Paper No. 8985. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2598925

Atila Abdulkadiroglu (Contact Author)

Duke University - Department of Economics ( email )

213 Social Sciences Building
Box 90097
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States

Joshua Angrist

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )

50 Memorial Drive
E52-353
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-8909 (Phone)
617-253-1330 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
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IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
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Germany

Peter Hull

Microsoft Corporation - Microsoft Research New England ( email )

One Memorial Drive, 14th Floor
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/people/pehull/

University of Chicago ( email )

1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

HOME PAGE: http://about.peterhull.net/

Parag A. Pathak

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )

50 Memorial Drive
E52-391
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

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