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

Policy Brief

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

These findings suggest that the private benefits attained by students using voucher programs do not come with any social costs associated with diminished voting behavior.

The Journal of Private Enterprise Summer 2019 ISSN 0890-913X Volume 34, Number 3

Corey A. DeAngelis and Patrick J. Wolf

Abstract

Do students who experience school choice grow up to be more engaged members of civil society? Looking at voting behavior is one way to answer this question. We employ probit regression analysis to compare the adult voting activity of students who participated in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, a private school voucher program, to their matched public school counterparts. Using a sophisticated matching algorithm, we create a traditional public school student comparison group using data from the state-mandated evaluation of the program. We find that by the time the students were 19–26 years old, no evidence indicates that private school voucher students were more or less likely to vote in 2012 or 2016 than public school students. Our results are robust to all models and are consistent for all subgroups. These findings suggest that the private benefits attained by students using voucher programs do not come with any social costs associated with diminished voting behavior.

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

Corey A. DeAngelis is the director of school choice at Reason Foundation.