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Selected Publications

Distributional Effects of a School Voucher Program: Evidence from New York City

Bitler, Marianne P., Thurston Domina, Emily K. Penner, and Hilary W. Hoynes. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness. Volume 8, Issue 3, 2015: 419-450.


We use quantile treatment effects estimation to examine the consequences of the random-assignment New York City School Choice Scholarship Program (NYCSCSP) across the distribution of student achievement. Our analyses suggest that the program had negligible and statistically insignificant effects across the skill distribution. In addition to contributing to the literature on school choice, the paper illustrates several ways in which distributional effects estimation can enrich educational research: First, we demonstrate that moving beyond a focus on mean effects estimation makes it possible to generate and test new hypotheses about the heterogeneity of educational treatment effects that speak to the justification for many interventions. Second, we demonstrate that distributional effects can uncover issues even with well-studied datasets by forcing analysts to view their data in new ways. Finally, such estimators highlight where in the overall national distribution data from particular interventions lie; this is important for exploring the external validity of the intervention’s effects.

Additional Information

Media: Profit of Education

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Published Version (612KB)

NBER Working Paper No. 19271 [earlier draft] (338KB)