Charter School Quality and Parental Decision Making with School Choice

45 Pages Posted: 23 May 2005 Last revised: 22 Jun 2009

See all articles by Eric A. Hanushek

Eric A. Hanushek

Stanford University - Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

John F. Kain

University of Texas at Dallas - Cecil and Ida Green Center for the Study of Science and Society

Steven G. Rivkin

Amherst College - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Gregory F. Branch

University of Texas at Dallas - Texas Schools Project (TSP)

Date Written: April 2005

Abstract

Charter schools have become a very popular instrument for reforming public schools, because they expand choices, facilitate local innovation, and provide incentives for the regular public schools while remaining under public control. Despite their conceptual appeal, evaluating their performance has been hindered by the selective nature of their student populations. This paper investigates the quality of charter schools in Texas in terms of mathematics and reading achievement and finds that, after an initial start-up period, average school quality in the charter sector is not significantly different from that in regular public schools. Perhaps most important, the parental decision to exit a charter school is much more sensitive to education quality than the decision to exit a regular public school, consistent with the notion that the introduction of charter schools substantially reduces the transactions costs of switching schools. Low income charter school families are, however, less sensitive to school quality than higher income families.

Suggested Citation

Hanushek, Eric A. and Kain, John F. and Rivkin, Steven G. and Branch, Gregory F., Charter School Quality and Parental Decision Making with School Choice (April 2005). NBER Working Paper No. w11252. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=697177

Eric A. Hanushek (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305-6010
United States
650-736-0942 (Phone)
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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

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John F. Kain

University of Texas at Dallas - Cecil and Ida Green Center for the Study of Science and Society ( email )

Mail Station GC21
Box 830688
Richardson, TX 75083-0688
United States
(972) 883-2555 (Phone)
(972) 883-2551 (Fax)

Steven G. Rivkin

Amherst College - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 5000
Amherst, MA 01002-5000
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Gregory F. Branch

University of Texas at Dallas - Texas Schools Project (TSP) ( email )

Dallas, TX
United States

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