When School Systems Compete for Public Funding, Education Quality Improves: C.D. Howe Institute

    TORONTO, Oct. 9 /CNW/ - Competition between schools in Ontario's public
and Catholic systems leads to some improvement in educational quality in both
systems, according to a C.D. Howe Institute study released today. In "School
Choice and the Benefits of Competition: Evidence from Ontario," economists
David Card of UC Berkeley, and Martin Dooley and A. Abigail Payne, both of
McMaster University, say competition between schools can improve student
performance since administrators have to improve the quality of education to
attract students and the public funding tied to enrolment.
    The authors focus on elementary schools in the English public and
Catholic school systems in Ontario. First, they establish that opening a new
school in one system draws students away from schools in the competing system.
They then find modest improvement in student performance on provincial tests
between grade 3 and 6 in areas where schools should face more competition. The
areas that face greater competition for students are those where a large share
of the population is Catholic (able to choose between separate and public
schools) and residents have recently relocated as evidenced by a high share of
new housing stock (more willing to switch between school systems than longtime
residents of an area). They conclude that greater competition can lead to
increases in test-score improvements for both Catholic and public-school
    The report is available at:

For further information:

For further information: A. Abigail Payne, Professor of Economics,
McMaster University, (905) 525-9140 x 23814; Ben Dachis, Policy Analyst, C.D.
Howe Institute, (416) 865-1904, email: cdhowe@cdhowe.org

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