The political economy of school choice: Linking theory and evidence

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27 Scopus citations


We derive an improved methodology for linking theoretical parameters of a political economy model of school choice to empirical values estimated by regressing local private enrollment shares on mean income, the median-to-mean ratio, religious and ethnic composition, and other variables. This leads us to reject the commonly maintained assumption that a coalition of "ends against the middle" determines local school funding, and to conclude instead that the median-income voter is decisive. It also allows us to estimate the perceived relative efficiency advantage of private schooling, which we find to be about 30% at the margin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-308
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Urban Economics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2003


  • Director's Law
  • Education demand
  • Education finance
  • Private education
  • Public education
  • Vouchers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Urban Studies


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