Year of Publication

2010

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Dissertation

College

Business and Economics

Department

Economics

First Advisor

Dr. William Hoy

Abstract

This dissertation is a compilation of three studies related to public school choice issues. Chapter 2 examines whether access to public schools of choice influences a household’s decision to choose private school for their child. I employ a multistate, individual-level data-set on students and their families — for which I have been granted access to restricted geo-code information. I supplement these data by matching students with their respective school districts using geographic information systems (GIS); I then examine whether relative measures of public school choice (PSC) in a school district influence the household’s public-private school decision. I find slight evidence that households respond to general measures of choice, though the implied effects appear to be trivial. Conditional on the presence of either PSC type of school in a district, I find more consistently significant crowd-out effects for competition measures from magnet schools, while charter school measures elicit stronger private-sector crowd-out effects, roughly three times those of the respective magnet school measures.

Chapter 3 examines the statewide educational policies and student, household, and school district-level attributes that influence the demand for interdistrict and intra-district public schools of choice. In the context of a multinomial probit model, I also estimate the demand for private school as a third alternative to attending an assigned school. I find evidence to suggest that households substitute between intra-district and interdistrict schools of choice.. I also find that mobility patterns may significantly increase the probability a household opts out of district.

Chapter 4 is an exploratory analysis that examines the qualities that distinguish school districts as net-losers, net-keepers, or net- gainers of students in their public schools. In particular, I examine how public schools of choice affect the net flow of students across the public sector. I find that charter schools appear to locate in districts that are net-losers of students, where students are opting into private school. I also find evidence to suggest that net-loser districts may signal better quality school districts with more diverse options available to facilitate positive student-school matches.

Share

COinS