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Inefficient Education Spending in Public School Districts: A Case for Consolidation?

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  • Marvin E. Dodson
  • Thomas A. Garrett

Abstract

This article estimates scale economies for Arkansas school districts. Large economies of scale exist in teacher salary and supply costs, as well as total costs. The results suggest that districts, especially rural districts, would experience measurable cost savings from consolidation. The authors simulate a hypothetical rural school district consolidation to obtain cost-saving estimates from consolidation. Simulations indicate that districts could save an average of 34% in average variable costs. At the state level, consolidation of rural districts in Arkansas could annually save $40 million. However, consolidation of school districts may increase various implicit costs to students and local communities. (JEL "I22", "I28") Copyright 2004 Western Economic Association International.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Western Economic Association International in its journal Contemporary Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 22 (2004)
Issue (Month): 2 (04)
Pages: 270-280

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Handle: RePEc:bla:coecpo:v:22:y:2004:i:2:p:270-280

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  1. Jacques, Charles & Brorsen, B. Wade & Richter, Francisca G.-C., 2000. "Consolidating Rural School Districts: Potential Savings And Effects On Student Achievement," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 32(03), December.
  2. Gyimah-Brempong, Kwabena, 1987. "Economies of Scale in Municipal Police Departments: The Case of Florida," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(2), pages 352-56, May.
  3. William Sander, 1997. "Catholic High Schools and Rural Academic Achievement," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 79(1), pages 1-12.
  4. Hanushek, Eric A., 2006. "School Resources," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
  5. Christensen, Laurits R & Greene, William H, 1976. "Economies of Scale in U.S. Electric Power Generation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages 655-76, August.
  6. Hanushek, Eric A, 1986. "The Economics of Schooling: Production and Efficiency in Public Schools," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 1141-77, September.
  7. Hanushek, E.A.omson, W., 1996. "Assessing the Effects of School Resources on Student Performance : An Update," RCER Working Papers 424, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  8. Thomas A. Garrett, 2001. "Economies of Scale and Inefficiency in County Extension Councils: A Case for Consolidation?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(4), pages 811-825.
  9. Jimenez, Emmanuel, 1986. "The structure of educational costs: Multiproduct cost functions for primary and secondary schools in latin America," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 25-39, February.
  10. DeBoer, Larry, 1992. "Economies of scale and input substitution in public libraries," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 257-268, September.
  11. Brewer, Dominic J., 1996. "Does more school district administration lower educational productivity? Some evidence on the "Administrative Blob" in New York public schools," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 111-124, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Leach, John & Payne, A. Abigail & Chan, Steve, 2010. "The effects of school board consolidation and financing on student performance," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 1034-1046, December.
  2. Christopher C. Klein, 2007. "Efficiency versus Effectiveness: Interpreting Education Production Studies," Working Papers 200703, Middle Tennessee State University, Department of Economics and Finance.
  3. Tiller, Kelly & Jakus, Paul M., 2005. "Applying the Miceli Model to Explain Cooperation in Municipal Solid Waste Management," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 34(2), October.
  4. Scorsone, Eric, 2007. "School District and Municipal Reorganization: Research Findings & Policy Proposals," Staff Papers 6543, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.

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