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Some economic guidelines for design of a charter school district


  • Levin, Henry M.


As the number of charter schools has grown nationally, there is increasing discussion of the consolidation of such schools into charter districts in which all schools would be charter schools from which parents would have the freedom to choose the school that they wished their student to attend. A major question is how such a charter school district would be organized to support its schools and who would perform the different functions required. It is argued that three economic guidelines need to be an important determinant of the solution to this question: the presence of economies of scale; transaction costs; and externalities. The article describes the application of these guidelines to the formation of a charter school district and suggests the different possibilities for addressing a range of important roles by schools, their districts and intermediate organizations and markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Levin, Henry M., 2012. "Some economic guidelines for design of a charter school district," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 331-343.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:31:y:2012:i:2:p:331-343 DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2011.08.010

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mikael Lindahl & Alan B. Krueger, 2001. "Education for Growth: Why and for Whom?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1101-1136, December.
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    5. Andrea Tokman, 2002. "Evaluation of the P900 Program: A Targeted Education Program for Underperforming Schools," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 170, Central Bank of Chile.
    6. Cornes,Richard & Sandler,Todd, 1996. "The Theory of Externalities, Public Goods, and Club Goods," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521477185, March.
    7. Henry Levin & Cyrus Driver, 1997. "Cost of an Educational Voucher System," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(3), pages 265-283.
    8. Bettinger, Eric P., 2005. "The effect of charter schools on charter students and public schools," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 133-147, April.
    9. Robert H. Haveman & Barbara L. Wolfe, 1984. "Schooling and Economic Well-Being: The Role of Nonmarket Effects," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 19(3), pages 377-407.
    10. Nelson, Michael A, 1997. "Municipal Government Approaches to Service Delivery: An Analysis from a Transactions Cost Perspective," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 35(1), pages 82-96, January.
    11. Andrews, Matthew & Duncombe, William & Yinger, John, 2002. "Revisiting economies of size in American education: are we any closer to a consensus?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 245-262, June.
    12. Glaeser, Edward L. & Saks, Raven E., 2006. "Corruption in America," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(6-7), pages 1053-1072, August.
    13. Williamson, Oliver E, 1999. "Public and Private Bureaucracies: A Transaction Cost Economics Perspective," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 306-342, April.
    14. Mark Gradstein & Moshe Justman, 2002. "Education, Social Cohesion, and Economic Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1192-1204, September.
    15. Parry, Taryn Rounds, 1997. "Achieving balance in decentralization: A case study of education decentralization in Chile," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 211-225, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Toma, Eugenia & Zimmer, Ron, 2012. "Two decades of charter schools: Expectations, reality, and the future," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 209-212.

    More about this item


    Charter districts; Charter schools; Economies of scale; Transaction costs; Externalities;

    JEL classification:

    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government


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