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Summer 2019
ISSN 0890-913X
Volume 34, Number 3

Will Democracy Endure Private School Choice? The Effect of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program on Adult Voting Behavior

Corey A. DeAngelis, Cato Institute
Patrick J. Wolf, University of Arkansas
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TheJournalofPrivateEnterprise34(2),2019,121WillDemocracyEndurePrivateSchoolChoice?TheEffectoftheMilwaukeeParentalChoiceProgramonAdultVotingBehaviorCoreyA.DeAngelis*CatoInstitutePatrickJ.WolfUniversityofArkansas_____________________________________________________AbstractDostudentswhoexperienceschoolchoicegrowuptobemoreengagedmembersofcivilsociety?Lookingatvotingbehaviorisonewaytoanswerthisquestion.WeemployprobitregressionanalysistocomparetheadultvotingactivityofstudentswhoparticipatedintheMilwaukeeParentalChoiceProgram,aprivateschoolvoucherprogram,totheirmatchedpublicschoolcounterparts.Usingasophisticatedmatchingalgorithm,wecreateatraditionalpublicschoolstudentcomparisongroupusingdatafromthestate-mandatedevaluationoftheprogram.Wefindthatbythetimethestudentswere1926yearsold,noevidenceindicatesthatprivateschoolvoucherstudentsweremoreorlesslikelytovotein2012or2016thanpublicschoolstudents.Ourresultsarerobusttoallmodelsandareconsistentforallsubgroups.Thesefindingssuggestthattheprivatebenefitsattainedbystudentsusingvoucherprogramsdonotcomewithanysocialcostsassociatedwithdiminishedvotingbehavior._____________________________________________________JELCodes:I28,I20Keywords:schoolchoice,privateschooling,democraticeducation,politicalparticipation,civiceducation,schoolvouchersI.IntroductionPresidentDonaldTrumpcalledforanexpansionofprivateschoolchoicethrougha$20billionincreaseinfederallyfundedaccesstoprivateschoolingfortheelevenmillionchildrenlivinginpovertyin2017(Camera2017).ShortlyafterhewaselectedpresidentoftheUnitedStates,heappointedasupporterofprivateschoolchoice,BetsyDeVos,asthesecretaryofeducation.Duringthesameperiod,*ThispaperscontentissolelytheauthorsresponsibilityanddoesnotnecessarilyrepresenttheviewsoftheCatoInstituteortheUniversityofArkansas.
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