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Public Spending Efficiency: Institutional Indicators in Primary and Secondary Education


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  • Frédéric Gonand
  • Isabelle Joumard
  • Robert W.R. Price


This paper presents composite indicators of the institutional and policy characteristics of educational systems, collated from the questionnaire responses of 26 Member countries. These indicators provide an overview of the institutional framework in the primary and secondary education sector and are constructed so as to be used for the analysis of international differences in spending efficiency. The key features of the institutional setting in the non-tertiary education sector are grouped under three headings: i) the ability to prioritise and allocate resources efficiently (through decentralisation and mechanisms matching resources to specific needs); ii) the efficiency in managing spending at the local level (through outcome-focused policies and managerial autonomy), and iii) the efficiency in service provision (through benchmarking and user choice). For each country, an intermediate indicator is computed for each of these six institutional properties. Composite indicators then combine the six intermediate indicators of spending efficiency into a single, aggregate measure. Results are presented and some of their implications are discussed. Overall, the characteristics of the institutional framework in the non-tertiary public education sector seem to be very favourable, compared to OECD average, in the United Kingdom, Australia, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands, whereas results are less favourable for the Czech Republic, Greece, Luxembourg, Japan, Turkey, Hungary, Belgium (French speaking community), Switzerland and Austria. Efficacité de la dépense publique : indicateurs institutionnels dans le secteur de l'éducation primaire et secondaire Ce document de travail présente sous forme d'indicateurs quantitatifs les réponses de 26 pays membres de l'OCDE à un questionnaire portant sur l'organisation institutionnelle du secteur public de l'éducation primaire et secondaire. Les indicateurs fournissent une vue d'ensemble des caractéristiques institutionnelles susceptibles de contribuer aux différences d'efficacité de la dépense publique entre les pays dans le secteur éducatif. Les caractéristiques institutionnelles prises en compte sont regroupées autour de trois dimensions : i) la capacité à allouer efficacement les ressources consacrées à l'éducation publique (décentralisation, prise en compte de besoins spécifiques), ii) l'efficacité de la gestion au niveau local (fixations d'objectifs, autonomie des écoles), et iii) l'efficacité de la fourniture de service éducatif au niveau local grâce à des mécanismes de marché (évaluation des performances, rôle du choix de l'usager). Pour chaque pays, un indicateur intermédiaire est calculé pour chacune de ces six caractéristiques institutionnelles. Un indicateur composite est alors construit qui fournit une mesure synthétique de la qualité des institutions du secteur public de l'éducation au regard de leur capacité à renforcer l'efficacité de la dépense publique. Les résultats montrent en particulier que les institutions éducatives sont relativement favorables à l'efficacité de la dépense publique au Royaume-Uni, en Australie, en Norvège, au Danemark et aux Pays-Bas ; et relativement défavorables en République Tchèque, en Grèce, au Luxembourg, au Japon, en Turquie, en Hongrie, en Belgique (communauté francophone), en Suisse et en Autriche.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 543.

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Date of creation: 30 Jan 2007
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Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:543-en

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Keywords: decentralisation; benchmarks; managerial autonomy in the public sector; Public education; institutional indicators; Public spending efficiency; user choice; outcome-focused public policies; Indicateurs institutionnels; choix de l'usager; évaluation des performances; management par objectif; décentralisation; Education nationale; efficacité de la dépense publique;

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Cited by:
  1. Robert P. Hagemann, 2012. "Fiscal Consolidation: Part 6. What Are the Best Policy Instruments for Fiscal Consolidation?," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 937, OECD Publishing.
  2. Tanja Kirjavainen, 2007. "Efficiency of Finnish Upper Secondary Schools: An Application of Stochastic Frontier Analysis with Panel Data," Discussion Papers 428, Government Institute for Economic Research Finland (VATT).
  3. Tatjana Slavova, 2008. "A rank order and efficiency evaluation of the EU regions in a social framework," Empirica, Springer, vol. 35(4), pages 339-367, September.
  4. Douglas Sutherland & Peter Hoeller & Rossana Merola, 2012. "Fiscal Consolidation: Part 1. How Much is Needed and How to Reduce Debt to a Prudent Level?," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 932, OECD Publishing.


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