The fiscal effects of educational choice programs may be these programs’ most-studied outcome. Among seven outcomes currently tracked by EdChoice, the number of studies on the fiscal effects of choice programs make up more than 40% of the 175 studies reviewed. There have been 73 studies examining the fiscal effects of choice programs on taxpayers. Of these studies, 68 estimated that these programs generate positive fiscal effects, four found programs to be cost neutral, and five estimated net costs to certain taxpayers. Four of the five analyses that found net costs also reported some net benefits when accounting for both short-run and long-run variable costs.
A recent study by one of the authors (Lueken) estimated the fiscal effects of 40 educational choice programs on state and local taxpayers. It used both short-run and long-run variable cost estimates to generate lower bound and upper bound figures of the fiscal effects of choice programs on taxpayers since their inceptions through fiscal 2018. The programs studied generated between $12.4 billion and $28.3 billion in cumulative net savings, or between $3,300 and $7,500 per student participant. In other words, for each dollar spent on these programs, states or taxpayers experienced up to $2.85 in estimated fiscal savings.