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school vouchers, school choice, student achievement, randomized control trial


The Louisiana Scholarship Program (LSP) offers publicly-funded vouchers to students in low-performing schools with family income no greater than 250 percent of the poverty line, allowing them to enroll in participating private schools. Established in 2008 as a pilot program in New Orleans, the LSP was expanded statewide in 2012. In this study, we estimate the achievement impacts of ever using an LSP voucher to enroll in one’s first-choice private school over the four year period spanning from 2012-13 (Year 1) through 2015-16 (Year 4). In contrast to our previous research, which indicated large initial negative achievement effects of the program that improved after two and three years of participation, the results presented here indicate large negative effects of LSP voucher usage after four years, especially in math. Similar to previous studies, we observe little evidence of differentiation in general effects by gender.

However, in contrast to findings presented in our previous studies, African American students are reported to have significantly less negative impacts of voucher usage relative to other students.