The Effects of Regulations on Private School Choice Program Participation: Experimental Evidence from Florida

36 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2018

See all articles by Corey DeAngelis

Corey DeAngelis

Reason Foundation; Cato Institute

Lindsey Burke

The Heritage Foundation

Patrick Wolf

University of Arkansas - Department of Education Reform

Date Written: October 22, 2018

Abstract

When deciding whether to participate in a private school choice program, private school leaders weigh additional financial benefits against additional regulatory costs. In theory, raising the costs associated with entering private school choice programs should reduce the likelihood that individual schools participate in those programs. However, very little empirical evidence exists evaluating this idea. While a few studies suggest that more highly regulated programs are correlated with lower levels of school participation, none have established causal relationships between these factors, and none have determined which program regulations are the most costly. Because it is nearly impossible to randomly assign program regulations to individual private schools, we use surveys to randomly assign different regulations to 3,080 private school leaders in Florida and ask them whether they would participate in a new private school choice program during the following school year. Relative to no regulations, our most conservative models find that open-enrollment mandates reduce the likelihood that private schools are certain to participate by about 17 percentage points, or 70 percent. State standardized testing requirements reduce the likelihood that private schools are certain to participate by 11 percentage points, or 44 percent. We find no evidence to suggest that the prohibition of copayment affects program participation overall. These estimates of the impact of regulatory requirements on the expressed willingness of private school principals to participate in a private school choice program are causal because random assignment leads to equivalence in expectation across treatment and control groups on both measurable and unmeasurable factors. We also find evidence to suggest that higher quality schools – as measured by tuition levels and enrollment trends – are more likely to be deterred by program regulations.

Keywords: private school, school choice, school vouchers, schooling supply, regulations

JEL Classification: I28, I20

Suggested Citation

DeAngelis, Corey and Burke, Lindsey and Wolf, Patrick, The Effects of Regulations on Private School Choice Program Participation: Experimental Evidence from Florida (October 22, 2018). EDRE Working Paper No. 2018-08. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3273428 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3273428

Corey DeAngelis (Contact Author)

Reason Foundation ( email )

1747 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20009
United States

Cato Institute ( email )

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

Lindsey Burke

The Heritage Foundation ( email )

214 Massachusetts Ave NE
Washington, DC 20002-4999
United States

Patrick Wolf

University of Arkansas - Department of Education Reform ( email )

201 Graduate Education Building
Fayetteville, AR 72701
United States

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