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How Vouchers Could Change the Market for Education

Опубликовано на портале: 05-02-2007
Journal of Economic Perspectives. 2002.  Vol. 16. No. 4. P. 25-44. 
Тематический раздел:
This article examines the ways in which vouchers could change the market for education. In this article, the existing literature on the relative performance of public and private schools are reviewed. Although the literature on the performance of public versus private schools does not indicate that existing private schools outperform public school across the board, there is evidence that public schools in cities may perform poorly compared to their private school neighbors. The most compelling evidence of minority students in cities, especially African-American students, who gain access to Catholic schools. It is possible that estimated gains from Catholic schooling arise from peer effects and not from better school performance. When a student with a voucher or a scholarship attends a private school, this student may enter classrooms that contain very different peers that she knew in public school. Arguments over vouchers sometimes proceed as if their only effect would be to redistribute students among a very similar group of teachers. But some of the most important potential outcomes of adopting vouchers involve likely changes in the labor market for teachers. These changes may have important impacts on who enters the teaching profession as well as how teachers allocate their efforts among the multiple tasks that comprise the job of teacher. The author concludes by describing agency problems that might arise between taxpayers and schools under vouchers. Opponents of vouchers often contend that private schools cannot be held accountable to taxpayers for how they use public funds.

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