Another Look at the New York City School Voucher Experiment

44 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2003 Last revised: 31 Oct 2010

See all articles by Alan B. Krueger

Alan B. Krueger

Princeton University - Industrial Relations Section; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Pei Zhu

MDRC

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 2003

Abstract

This paper reexamines data from the New York City school choice program, the largest and best implemented private school scholarship experiment yet conducted. In the experiment, low-income public school students in grades K-4 were eligible to participate in a series of lotteries for a private school scholarship in May 1997. Data were collected from students and their parents at baseline, and in the Spring of each of the next three years. Students with missing baseline test scores, which encompasses all those who were initially in Kindergarten and 11 percent of those initially in grades 1-4, were excluded from previous analyses of achievement, even though these students were tested in the follow-up years. In principle, random assignment would be expected to lead treatment status to be uncorrelated with all baseline characteristics. Including students with missing baseline test scores increases the sample size by 44 percent. For African American students, the only group to show a significant, positive effect of vouchers on achievement in past studies, the difference in average follow-up test scores between the treatment group (those offered a voucher) and control group (those not offered a voucher) becomes statistically insignificant at the .05 level and much smaller if the full sample is used. In addition, the effect of vouchers is found to be sensitive to the particular way race/ethnicity was defined. Previously, race was assigned according to the racial/ethnic category of the child's mother. If children with a Black (non-Hispanic) father are added to the sample of children with a Black (non-Hispanic) mother, the effect of vouchers is smaller and statistically insignificant at conventional levels.

Suggested Citation

Krueger, Alan B. and Zhu, Pei, Another Look at the New York City School Voucher Experiment (January 2003). NBER Working Paper No. w9418. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=366455

Alan B. Krueger (Contact Author)

Princeton University - Industrial Relations Section ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-2098
United States
609-258-4046 (Phone)
609-258-2907 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Pei Zhu

MDRC ( email )

200 Vesey Street
New York, NY 10281
United States

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