The Effects of School Choice on Mental Health

27 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2018

See all articles by Corey DeAngelis

Corey DeAngelis

American Federation for Children; Cato Institute; Reason Foundation

Angela K. Dills

Western Carolina University

Date Written: October 24, 2018


School choice allows families to choose schools that are more suited to their children. These choices may affect non-academic outcomes, including students’ mental health. We empirically examine the relationship between school choice and mental health using two methods. First, we use difference-in-differences to estimate the effects of state voucher and charter school laws on adolescent suicide rates. States adopting broad-based voucher programs and charter schools witness declines in adolescent suicides. Second, we use survey data to estimate the effects of private schooling on adult mental health. Controlling for a post-baseline measure of mental health and a variety of individual characteristics, the estimates suggest that private schooling reduces the number of times individuals are seen for mental health issues.

Keywords: school choice; school vouchers; charter schools; mental health; non-cognitive skills

JEL Classification: I28, I20

Suggested Citation

DeAngelis, Corey and Dills, Angela K., The Effects of School Choice on Mental Health (October 24, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Corey DeAngelis

American Federation for Children ( email )

1020 19th St NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Cato Institute ( email )

1000 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20001-5403
United States

Reason Foundation ( email )

1747 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20009
United States

Angela K. Dills (Contact Author)

Western Carolina University ( email )

Cullowhee, NC 28723
United States
8282273329 (Phone)


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