March 23, 2005
John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

Stigma and school voucher threats under a revised 2002 Florida accountability law have positive impacts on student performance. Stigma and public school choice threats under the U.S. federal accountability law, No Child Left Behind, do not have similar effects in Florida. Significant impacts of stigma, when combined with the voucher threat, are observed on the test score performance of African Americans, those eligible for free lunch, and those with the lowest initial test scores. No significant impacts of the voucher threat on the performances of whites and Hispanics are detected. Estimations rely upon individual-level data and are based upon regression analyses that exploit artificial distinctions created by cliffs within the accountability regimes.

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