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Impact of School Vouchers on Guardian Investment in Education

Name: Madeleine Keller
Majors: Economics, Education
Advisors: Dr. Brooke Krause, Dr. Gretchen Tefs
Inequitable access to good quality education is an ongoing issue in the United States. The nature of free public schools versus costly private schools and property taxes funding public schools sparked my interest in disparities in school choice. As a future educator and economist, understanding school choice is fundamental. Private school education is not available to many students due to cost or other factors. State and federal school voucher programs have been introduced in an attempt to help combat this issue. Voucher programs are intended to increase access to private school education for various demographics that may not be able to attend private schools under ordinary circumstances. Using Wooster, Ohio as a base reference, the impact of school vouchers on guardian education contribution is studied. This paper hypothesizes that awareness and distribution of vouchers increases guardian education contribution. Expected utility, consumer theory and budget constraints are used to model this hypothesis. This study suggests that this hypothesis is true through two major findings. The first finding suggests that awareness of vouchers is correlated with a $1,548 increase in guardian contribution to education. The second finding suggests that providing guardians with a voucher increases their willingness to pay an additional $1,600 to send their child to a private school by 52.4%. These findings open a gateway to further research about the impact and usage of vouchers in different settings and across different demographics.


Madeleine will be online to field comments on April 16:
10am-noon EDT (Asia: late evening, PST: 6-8am, Africa/Europe: early evening)

Posted in I.S. Symposium 2021, Independent Study on April 10, 2021.


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