Job Market Paper

  • Bricks and Mortar vs. Computers and Modems: The Impacts of Enrollment in K-12 Virtual Schools on Student Outcomes (Job Market Paper) 

This paper estimates the causal effect of full-time virtual school attendance on student outcomes with important implications for school choice. Despite the increasing demand for K-12 virtual schools over the past decade little is known about the impact of full-time virtual schools on students’ academic and nonacademic outcomes and the existing evidence is mixed. I use a longitudinal data set composed of individual-level information on all public-school students and teachers throughout Georgia from 2007 to 2016 to investigate how virtual schools influence student outcomes. I implement a variety of econometric specifications to account for the issue of potential self-selection into virtual schools. I find that attending a virtual school leads to a reduction of 0.1 to 0.4 standard deviations in English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies achievement test scores for students in elementary and middle school. I also find that ever attending a virtual school is associated with a 10-percentage point reduction in ever graduating from high school. This is early evidence that full-time virtual schools as a type of school choice could be harmful to students’ learning and future economic opportunities, as well as sub-optimal use of taxpayer money

Submitted Papers

Working Papers

  • Predicting Who Will Be Highly Effective Teachers
  • Do Social-Emotional Learning Skills Improve Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Skills
  • Early Evidence on the Impact of the Achieve Atlanta Scholarship Program on College Enrollment and Persistence (with Jonathan Smith and Lindsay Page)

Research Statement

Bueno Research Statement