The heterogeneity of the “private school effect” in Italian primary education

Tommaso Agasisti, Samuele Murtinu, Piergiacomo Sibiano

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista

1 Citazioni (Scopus)


In this study, we have carried out an empirical investigation on the potential differences in school performance between pupils attending public schools and those attending private schools in the most densely populated region of Italy (Lombardy), employing a new dataset of about 77,000 students in the final or fifth year (grade 5) of around 1,000 schools. This is the first study to be carried out on the effects of private schooling in primary education in Italy. Our analysis uses an Instrumental Variables (IV) methodology to test the effectiveness of the voucher plan implemented by the regional government - the Region. The results show that, on average, there is no statistically significant “private school effect”. However, when exploring the potential heterogeneity of such effect, we did find that attending a private school is associated with higher performance in standardized test scores for two categories of pupils: immigrants and those from a relatively disadvantaged socio-economic background. From a policy perspective, we believe that private schools at primary level can serve disadvantaged pupils better and so help to improve equal opportunities throughout the entire educational system. These results challenge previous evidence about the role of private schooling in the Italian educational system.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)126-147
Numero di pagine22
RivistaCESifo Economic Studies
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2016
Pubblicato esternamente


  • Heterogeneity
  • Italy
  • Primary education
  • Private
  • School


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