From Harvard University
By Roland G. "Dobbie" Fryer, Jr.
Henry Lee Professor of Economics
January 9, 2018
We estimate the impact of charter schools on early-life labor market outcomes using administrative data from Texas. We find that, at the mean, charter schools have no impact on test scores and a negative impact on earnings.
No Excuses charter schools increase test scores and four-year college enrollment, but have a small and statistically insignificant impact on earnings, while other types of charter schools decrease test scores, four-year college enrollment, and earnings.
Moving to school-level estimates, we find that charter schools that decrease test scores also tend to decrease earnings, while charter schools that increase test scores have no discernible impact on earnings.
In contrast, high school graduation effects are predictive of earnings effects throughout the distribution of school quality. The paper concludes with a speculative discussion of what might explain our set of facts.
Roland G. Fryer, Jr. is the Henry Lee Professor of Economics at Harvard University and faculty director of the Education Innovation Laboratory (EdLabs). Fryer's research combines economic theory, empirical evidence, and randomized experiments to help design more effective government policies. His work on education, inequality, and race has been widely cited in media outlets and Congressional testimony.
Professor Fryer was awarded a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship and the John Bates Clark Medal -- given by the American Economic Association to the best American Economist under age 40.
Among other honors, he is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a recipient of the Calvó-Armengol Prize and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. At age 30, he became the youngest African-American to receive tenure at Harvard.