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Publicly provided education

In: Handbook of Public Economics

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  • Hanushek, Eric A.

Abstract

Historically, most attention in public programs has been given to the resources devoted to the activity, and resources have been used to index both commitment and quality. Education differs from other areas of public expenditure because direct measures of outcomes are available, making it is possible to consider results and, by implication, to consider the efficiency of provision. Early interpretations of the evidence, emanating from popular interpretations of the Coleman Report that "schools do not make a difference", are incorrect, but the basic evidence behind the statement suggests serious performance problems of government supply, because purchased inputs to schools are not closely related to outcomes. This paper reviews that evidence along with providing an evaluation of the various controversial aspects including issues of causality, consumer behavior, and estimation approaches. Two detailed policy areas are discussed in terms of the evidence on performance: public versus private provision and the financing of schools.

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This chapter was published in:

  • A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), 2002. "Handbook of Public Economics," Handbook of Public Economics, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 4, number 4.
    This item is provided by Elsevier in its series Handbook of Public Economics with number 4-30.

    Handle: RePEc:eee:pubchp:4-30

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    1. Steven G. Rivkin, 2000. "School Desegregation, Academic Attainment, and Earnings," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(2), pages 333-346.
    2. Hanushek, Eric A, 1992. "The Trade-Off between Child Quantity and Quality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 84-117, February.
    3. Barro, Robert J, 1991. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 407-43, May.
    4. Smith, James P & Welch, Finis R, 1989. "Black Economic Progress after Myrdal," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(2), pages 519-64, June.
    5. Ballou, Dale, 2001. "Pay for performance in public and private schools," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 51-61, February.
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