Social Returns to Private Choice?

Effects of Charter Schools on Behavioral Outcomes, Arrests, and Civic Participation

Published in: Economics of Education Review, Volume 76 (June 2020). doi: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2020.101983

Posted on RAND.org on June 05, 2020

by Andrew McEachin, Douglas Lee Lauen, Sarah Crittenden Fuller, Rachel Perera

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The vast majority of literature on school choice, and charter schools in particular, focus on attending an elementary or middle school grades and often focus on test scores or other proximal outcomes. Much less is known about the long-term effects of attending a charter school in 9th grade. It is important to fill this information void for a few reasons. First, schools in general affect more than just students' test scores. Second, secondary schools (including grades 9–12) make up a larger share of the charter sector. Third, school choice depends on freely available information for parents and students to make informed decisions about where to attend, including potential long-term benefits. We add to the empirical research on charter school effects by using a doubly-robust inverse probability weighted approach to evaluate the impacts of secondary charter school attendance on 9th grade behavioral outcomes and individuals propensity to commit crime and participate in elections as young adults in North Carolina, a state with a large and growing charter school sector.

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