by John D. Merrifield, Nathan L. Gray
February 11, 2013
On April 22, 1998, the Children’s Educational Opportunity Foundation announced the availability of CEO Horizon Scholarships to residents of the Edgewood Independent School District (EISD) in San Antonio, Texas. The CEO Foundation did not limit eligibility to students with proof of superior academic talent, so the scholarships were really privately funded tuition vouchers. As such, we shall refer to them as the Edgewood Voucher Program. The EVP was a working model of Milton Friedman’s (1955, 1962) original idea for a universal voucher program, except that it was set to last only 10 years. This article analyzes the EVP’s immediate economic development effects, including the impact on the property tax base, housing growth and values, and business formation. We begin with an overview of the EVP, review the existing literature, describe the benchmark for our impact estimates, and then discuss the estimates and their significance for universal tuition vouchers.