Catholic Schools and Educational Attainment: Findings for Older Adults



Substantial attention has been given to the effects of Catholic and other private primary and secondary schooling on student achievement (Bryk, Lee, and Holland, 1993; Coleman and Hoffer, 1987; Coleman, Hoffer, and Kilgore, 1982; Evans and Schwab, 1995; Figlio and Stone, forthcoming; Greeley, 1982; Hoffer, Greeley, and Coleman, 1985; Ludwig, 1997; Murnane, 1984; Murnane, Newstead, and Olsen, 1985; Neal, 1997; Noell, 1982; Rouse, 1998; Sander, 1996 and 1997; Sander and Krautmann, 1995; Witte, 1992). All of the recent research focuses on individuals who were either in grade school or high school during the 1970s and thereafter. The key issue that has been addressed in the research on private schools is whether positive private school effects are the result of selection or better schooling. To my knowledge, no study of older cohorts has been undertaken that addresses the selection issue. Some of the historical research in this area suggest that students in Catholic schools had higher levels of educational attainment than students in public schools (Perlmann, 1989). However, a rigorous test of the hypothesis that Catholic schools caused higher levels of attainment has not been undertaken.


Private School General Social Survey Older Adult School Effect Catholic School 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bound, John, David Jaeger, and Regina Baker. 1995. “Problems with Instrumental Variable Estimation When the Correlation Between Instruments and the Endogenous Variable is Weak.” Journal of the American Statistical Association 90: 443–450.Google Scholar
  2. Brigham, F. 1993. United States Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools 1992–1993. Washington, D.C. National Catholic Education Association.Google Scholar
  3. Bryk, Anthony S., Valerie E. Lee, and Peter B. Holland. 1993. Catholic Schools and the Common Good. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Coleman, James S. and Thomas Hoffer. 1987. Public and Private High Schools. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  5. Coleman, James S., Thomas Hoffer, and Sally Kilgore. 1982. High School Achievement. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  6. Evans, William N. and Robert M. Schwab. 1995. “Finishing High School and Starting College: Do Catholic Schools Make A Difference?” Quarterly Journal of Economics 110:941–974.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Figlio, David N. and Joe A. Stone. Forthcoming. “School Choice and Student Performance: Are Private Schools Really Better?” Research in Labor Economics.Google Scholar
  8. Goldberger, Arthur and Glen Cain. 1982. “The Causal Analysis of Cognitive Outcomes in the Coleman, Hoffer, and Kilgore Report.” Sociology of Education 55: 103–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Goldin, Claudia. 1998. “America’s Graduation from High School: The Evolution and Spread of Secondary Schooling in the Twentieth Century.” Journal of Economic History 58: 345–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Greeley, Andrew. 1982. Catholic High Schools and Minority Students. New Brunswick: Transaction Books.Google Scholar
  11. Hoffer, Thomas, Andrew Greeley, and James Coleman. 1985. “Achievement and Growth in Public and Catholic Schools.” Sociology of Education 58: 74–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ludwig, Jens. 1997. “Educational Achievement in Public, Private, and Catholic Schools: New Evidence on What We Know (and Don’t Know).” Georgetown University Working Paper.Google Scholar
  13. Murnane, Richard. 1984. “A Review Essay—Comparisons of Public and Private Schools: Lessons from the Uproar.” Journal of Human Resources 19: 263–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Murnane, Richard, J.B. Willett, and Randal Olsen. 1985. “Comparing Public and Private Schools: The Puzzling Role of Selectivity Bias.” Journal of Economics and Business Statistics 3: 23–35.Google Scholar
  15. National Opinion Research Center. 1996. General Social Surveys, 1972–1996: Cumulative Codebook. Chicago: National Opinion Research Center.Google Scholar
  16. Neal, Derek. 1997. “The Effects of Catholic Secondary Schooling on Educational Attainment.” Journal of Labor Economics 15: 980123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Noell, Jay. 1982. “Public and Catholic Schools: A Reanalysis of Public and Private Schools.” Sociology of Education 55: 123–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Perlmann, Joel. 1988. Ethnic Differences. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Rouse, Cecilia Elena. 1998. “Private School Vouchers and Student Achievement: An Evaluation of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 103: 553–602.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Sander, William. 1996. “Catholic Grade Schools and Academic Achievement.” Journal of Human Resources 31: 540–548.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Sander, William. 1997. “Rural Catholic High Schools and Academic Achievement.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics 79: 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Sander, William and Anthony C. Krautmann. 1995. “Catholic Schools, Dropout Rates, and Educational Attainment.” Economic Inquiry 33: 217–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. United States Department of Commerce. 1975. Historical Statistics of the United States: Colonial Times to 1970. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  24. United States Department of Commerce. 1997. Statistical Abstract of the United States. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  25. Witte, John F. 1992. “Private Schools Versus Public School Achievement.” Economics of Education Review 11: 371–394.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsDePaul UniversityChicagoUSA

Personalised recommendations