It is unclear if vouchers increase educational productivity or are purely redistributive, benefiting recipients by giving them access to more desirable peers at others' expense. To examine this, we study an educational voucher programme in Colombia which allocated vouchers by lottery. Among voucher applicants to vocational schools, lottery winners were less likely to attend academic secondary schools and thus had peers with less desirable observable characteristics. Despite this, lottery winners had better educational outcomes. In this population, vouchers improved educational outcomes through channels beyond redistribution of desirable peers. We discuss potential channels which may explain the observed effects.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.
Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.