Atila Abdulkadiroglu in the QJE

Monday, February 28, 2011
Atila Abdulkadiroglu in the QJE

28 February 2011 12:00AM

Professor Atila Abdulkadiroglu has a new article forthcoming in The Quarterly Journal of Economics on the economics of education. Abdulkadiroglu's research has affected the design and implementation of admissions policies of school choice programs in multiple U.S. cities. This new paper evaluates student achievement in Boston's charter schools and another alternative to traditional public schools called pilot schools. Both charter and pilot schools are part of a movement toward choice and decentralization in public education in the U.S.

Following is the paper abstract:

Accountability and Flexibility in Public Schools: Evidence from Boston’s Charters and Pilots

Authors: Atila Abdulkadiroglu, Joshua D. Angrist, Susan M. Dynarski, Thomas J. Kane, Parag A. Pathak

Charter schools are publicly funded but operate outside the regulatory framework and collective bargaining agreements characteristic of traditional public schools. In return for this freedom, charter schools are subject to heightened accountability. This paper estimates the impact of charter school attendance on student achievement using data from Boston, where charter schools enroll a growing share of students. We also evaluate an alternative to the charter model, Boston’s pilot schools. These schools have some of the independence of charter schools, but operate within the school district, face little risk of closure, and are covered by many of same collective bargaining provisions as traditional public schools. Estimates using student assignment lotteries show large and significant test score gains for charter lottery winners in middle and high school. In contrast, lottery-based estimates for pilot schools are small and mostly insignificant. The large positive lottery-based estimates for charter schools are similar to estimates constructed using statistical controls in the same sample, but larger than those using statistical controls in a wider sample of schools. The latter are still substantial, however. The estimates for pilot schools are smaller and more variable than those for charters, with some significant negative effects.

Learn more about Professor Abdulkadiroglu.