Do education vouchers prevent dropout at private high schools? Evidence from Japanese policy changes

Hideo Akabayashi, Hiroko Araki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Although education voucher programs for students attending private high schools have existed in Japan for decades, to date there have been no studies that examine their effectiveness. In this study, we estimate the programs' preventative effect on dropout by using school-track level (academic or vocational) panel data covering all high schools in northern Japan. Prefectural governments have faced increasing dropout rates stemming from financial difficulties, and expanded the scope and amount of their private high school tuition support programs since the late 1990s. We use this variation to identify the effect of tuition support on students' dropout decisions, controlling for initial academic ability of students entering the schools and unobservable school-track effects. We also apply the instrumental variable method to account for the possible endogeneity of policy changes. Our results suggest that increasing tuition support is particularly effective in preventing the dropout of private high school students on nonacademic tracks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-198
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of The Japanese and International Economies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Sept


  • High school dropout
  • Japanese education policy
  • Private school voucher
  • Secondary education
  • Tuition support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Political Science and International Relations


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