Caroline M. Hoxby

Senior Fellow
Research Team: 

Caroline M. Hoxby is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a member of the Koret Task Force on K–12 Education. She is the Scott & Donya Bommer Professor of Economics at Stanford University and the director of the Economics of Education Program for the National Bureau of Economic Research. She also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Board for Education Sciences.

Hoxby's research has received numerous awards, including a Carnegie Fellowship, a John M. Olin Fellowship, a National Tax Association Award, and a major grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Development. She is the recipient of the 2006 Thomas J. Fordham Prize for Distinguished Scholarship.

She has written extensively on educational choice and related issues. She is the editor of The Economic Analysis of School Choice (University of Chicago Press, 2002) and College Choices (University of Chicago Press, 2004). Some of her published articles include "Does Competition among Public Schools Benefit Students and Taxpayers?" (American Economic Review, 2000), "Not All School Finance Equalizations Are Created Equal" (Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2001), and "How Teachers' Unions Affect Education Production" (Quarterly Journal of Economics, 1996).

Other articles written by Hoxby include "The Effects of School Choice on Curriculum and Atmosphere" (in Earning and Learning: How Schools Matter), "The Effects of Class Size on Student Achievement" (Quarterly Journal of Economics, 1999), and "Evidence on Private School Vouchers: Effects on Schools and Students" (in Performance Based Approaches to School Reform).

Hoxby, who was the subject of a feature article in The New Yorker, has an undergraduate degree, a master's degree, and a doctorate in economics. She earned her master's degree in 1990 from the University of Oxford, which she attended on a Rhodes Scholarship, and her doctorate in 1994 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Recent Commentary

Political Jurisdictions in Heterogeneous Communities

by Alberto Alesina, Reza Baqir, Caroline M. Hoxbyvia Journal of Political Economy
Thursday, January 1, 2004

We investigate whether political jurisdictions form in response to the trade-off between economies of scale and the costs of a heterogeneous population.

Do and Should Financial Aid Decisions Affect Students' College Choices?

by Christopher Avery, Caroline M. Hoxbyvia National Bureau of Economic Research
Saturday, February 1, 2003

Every year, thousands of high school seniors with high college aptitude face complicated menus' of scholarship and aid packages designed to affect their college choices. Using an original survey designed for this paper, we investigate whether students respond to their menus' like rational human capital investors.

All School Finance Equalizations Are Not Created Equal

by Caroline M. Hoxbyvia Quarterly Journal of Economics
Thursday, November 1, 2001

School finance equalization has probably affected American schools more than any other reform of the last 30 years. Understanding it is a prerequisite for making optimal social investments in human capital. Yet, it is poorly understood.

Analysis and Commentary

Testing Is about Openness and Openness Works

by Caroline M. Hoxbyvia Hoover Daily Report
Monday, July 30, 2001

How much can one expect from a policy that just informs, with few stakes?

Analysis and Commentary

Conversion of a Standardized Test Skeptic

by Caroline M. Hoxbyvia Hoover Daily Report
Monday, June 18, 2001

Testing is undoubtedly the school reform with the highest ratio of benefits to costs.

Does Competition Among Public Schools Benefit Students and Taxpayers?

by Caroline M. Hoxbyvia American Economic Review
Tuesday, December 5, 2000

Tiebout choice among districts is the most powerful marketforce in American public education.  Naive estimates of its effects are biased by endogenous district formation.  I derive instruments from the natural boundaries in a metropolitan area.

The Effects of Class Size on Student Achievement: New Evidence from Population Variation

by Caroline M. Hoxbyvia Quarterly Journal of Economics
Wednesday, November 1, 2000

I identify the effects of class size on student achievement using longitudinal variation in the population associated with each grade in 649 elementary schools.  I use variation in class size driven by idiosyncratic variation in the population.

Analysis and Commentary

What Parents Choose When Given Choices

by Caroline M. Hoxbyvia Hoover Daily Report
Monday, March 20, 2000

Choice-based reforms, such as vouchers and charter schools, depend on the idea that schools will have to satisfy parents to keep their customers.

Are Efficiency and Equity in School Finance Substitutes or Complements?

by Caroline M. Hoxbyvia Journal of Economic Perspectives
Sunday, September 1, 1996

Since desegregation, the most important changes to American elementary and secondary schooling have almost certainly been in the realm of school finance.

How Teachers' Unions Affect Education Production

by Caroline M. Hoxbyvia Quarterly Journal of Economics
Thursday, August 1, 1996

This study helps to explain why measured school inputs appear to have little effect on student outcomes, particularly for cohorts educated since 1960.  Teachers' unionization can explain how public schools simultaneously can have more generous inputs and worse student performance.