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ERIC Number: ED530407
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 14
Distributional Effects of a School Voucher Program: Evidence from New York City
Bitler, Marianne; Domina, Thurston; Penner, Emily K.
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
Excellence and equity goals motivate much of American educational policy. These two goals are not always mutually reinforcing. Some policies boost average academic achievement even as they broaden educational inequalities. Others depress academic achievement even as they narrow inequalities. The twin goals of excellence and equity should lead policy-makers to be interested in both the average effects of educational policies and their distributional consequences. But although developmental science suggests that many interventions should have heterogeneous effects, most educational evaluation research focuses on the estimation of mean treatment effects either for the population at large or for particular subgroups of interest. In this paper, by contrast, the authors use distributional approaches to estimate the effects of a school voucher experiment for low income elementary school students in New York City on the distribution of academic skill. The distributional approaches will test competing hypotheses that school vouchers boost achievement either primarily at the bottom of the distribution (thus mitigating inequality) or primarily at the top of the distribution (thus exacerbating inequality). The authors' preliminary findings suggest that vouchers may have different effects at different points in the distribution of student achievement. Further work will reveal how systematic this finding is, and explore the extent to which effects within subgroups are similar to those for the whole distribution. (Contains 1 figure.)
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness. 2040 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208. Tel: 202-495-0920; Fax: 202-640-4401; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE)
Identifiers - Location: New York