Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Research Institute of Industrial Economics

No 1030: Sweden’s School Choice Reform and Equality of Opportunity

Karin Edmark (), Markus Frölich () and Verena Wondratschek ()
Additional contact information
Karin Edmark: Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN), Postal: P.O. Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden
Markus Frölich: University of Mannheim, Postal: IFAU, IZA and ZEW
Verena Wondratschek: Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW), Postal: and the Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN), Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: This study analyses whether the Swedish school choice reform, enacted in 1992, had different effects on students from different socio-economic backgrounds. We use detailed geographical data on students’ and schools’ locations to construct measures of the degree of potential choice. This allows us to study the effects of choice opportunities among public schools, whereas previous studies have focused on newly opened private schools. Our results suggest small positive or no effects of choice opportunities, depending on specification and outcome. We find no strong evidence of differences between subgroups; if anything, effects tend to be slightly more positive for disadvantaged groups, such as students from low-income families. Taken together, the results indicate that students from a socio-economically disadvantaged or immigrant background were not harmed by the reform.

Keywords: School choice; School competition; Treatment evaluation; Cognitive and non-cognitive skills

JEL-codes: C21; I24

83 pages, June 27, 2014

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