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Economics of Education Review

The Impact of Attending an Independent Upper Secondary School: Evidence from Sweden Using School Ranking Data

Scientific Article in English
Reference
Edmark, Karin and Lovisa Persson (2021). “The Impact of Attending an Independent Upper Secondary School: Evidence from Sweden Using School Ranking Data”. Economics of Education Review 84, 102148. doi.org/10.1016/j.econedurev.2021.102148

Authors
Karin Edmark, Lovisa Persson

Since the 1990s, the Swedish education market has gone through a dramatic transformation due to the introduction of voucher-funded independent schools. We make use of data on school applications to condition on student preferences for independent versus public education, and estimate a positive relationship between independent upper secondary school attendance and grades, graduation rates, and post-secondary education. We however also find strong indications of more lenient grading standards in independent schools, especially in schools organized as for-profit entities and in schools with a low share of qualified teachers. Our results suggest that, although independent school attendance seems to benefit the individual students in terms of higher grades and increased transition to post-secondary studies, grade inflation in the Swedish upper secondary independent schools may be a serious problem.