How Does School Choice Improve Student Achievement? Estimating School-level Competitive Effects and Student-level Peer Effects
Although school choice programs have played a key role in public education reform in the United States for years, the impact of competition between schools on student achievement remains unclear. This study examines the effects of introducing charter schools on students at neighboring traditional public schools. Unlike prior work, which estimates the effects of charter schools as a whole, I present that such impact consists of school-level competitive eff ects and student-level peer effects. By using rich panel data and controlling for unobserved peer characteristics, this study demonstrates that three-quarters of the positive charter impact are driven by the former while one-quarter results from the latter. I also show that peer effects play a larger role in math than in reading.