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In the study presented here, we mainly study one central issue, i.e. the effect of the reform on the educational results of pupils in the short and long run.
THE 1992 FREE SCHOOL REFORM meant freedom of choice for pupils, the establishment of new schools and municipal schools were subjected to competition. This large change raises a number of interesting questions about how Swedish schools have been affected. In the study presented here, we mainly study one central issue, i.e. the effect of the reform on the educational results of pupils in the short and long run.
POSITIVE EFFECTS We find that the average result is improved in municipalities with a larger share of free schools. The improvements include both pupils in municipal schools and in free schools. This applies to grade 9 (national test results and grades) as well as to later educational achievements in secondary school and at the university level. The positive effects emerge about 10 years after the reform has been implemented. A reasonable explanation is that it has taken a long time for free schools to become more than a marginal phenomenon in Sweden.
NO GRADE INFLATION On basis of our analyses, the positive effects are not explained by such factors as inflation in grades and test results or other reforms in the school area that took place simultaneously.
INCREASE IN SCHOOL PRODUCTIVITY The effects on educational results do not come at a higher cost. In other words, there seems to have been an increase in school productivity.
AUTHOR Anders Böhlmark, PhD in Economics, works at The Swedish Institute for Social Research at Stockholm University and is affiliated with IFAU. E-mail: email@example.com.
Mikael Lindahl is Professor of Economics at Uppsala University, holds the special research position of the economic sciences from the Royal Academy of Sciences, with financial support from Torsten and Ragnar Söderberg’s Research Foundations, and is affiliated with UCLS and IFAU. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.