Voucher Impacts

Differences between Public and Private Schools

Authored by: PAUL E. PETERSON

Handbook of Research on School Choice

Print publication date:  April  2009
Online publication date:  May  2009

Print ISBN: 9780805862232
eBook ISBN: 9780203881781
Adobe ISBN:


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Private schooling has been shown to be more beneficial for students from disadvantaged social and minority ethnic backgrounds than for advantaged White students. Possible explanations for difference in impact across social groups include: (1) fewer choices available in the public sector to minority and other disadvantaged families; (2) smaller schools, fewer transfers among schools, and greater administrative simplicity in the private sector; (3) better co-production in the private sector by providing stronger extrinsic learning incentives to students and families (more homework, higher behavioral and educational expectations if student is to remain in the school; more extensive communications between school and family; and requirements that families make financial and educational contributions). Because stronger extrinsic incentives are needed to motivate disadvantaged than advantaged students and families, private schooling for these students may generate particularly positive educational impacts, despite the fewer fiscal resources available to private schools as compared public ones.

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