Does Greater School Autonomy Make a Difference? Evidence from a Randomized Natural Experiment in South Korea

58 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2013 Last revised: 21 Jun 2018

See all articles by Youjin Hahn

Youjin Hahn

Yonsei University

Liang Choon Wang

Monash University - Department of Economics

Hee-Seung Yang

Yonsei University

Date Written: March 16, 2018

Abstract

We exploit the unique features of high schools in Seoul to study the effects of school autonomy on student outcomes. Under South Korea's equalization policy, both private and public schools in Seoul admit students that are assigned randomly to them, receive equal government funding, charge identical fees, and use similar curricula. However, private schools have greater flexibility in personnel decisions, and their principals and teachers face stronger incentives to perform. We find that private high schools have better student outcomes than public high schools. Our results suggest that autonomy in personnel decisions explains the positive student outcomes in private schools.

Keywords: Private schools; public schools; randomization; school autonomy

JEL Classification: H4; H7; I2

Suggested Citation

Hahn, Youjin and Wang, Liang Choon and Yang, Hee-Seung, Does Greater School Autonomy Make a Difference? Evidence from a Randomized Natural Experiment in South Korea (March 16, 2018). Journal of Public Economics, Volume 161, May 2018, Pages 15-30 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2352765 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2352765

Youjin Hahn

Yonsei University ( email )

Seoul
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

Liang Choon Wang (Contact Author)

Monash University - Department of Economics ( email )

Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/liangchoonwang/

Hee-Seung Yang

Yonsei University ( email )

50 Yonsei-ro, Seodaemun-gu
Seoul, 03722
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)
82 2 2123 2480 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/heeseungyang/

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