Efficiency and equity in private and public education: A nonparametric comparison
We present a nonparametric approach for (1) efficiency and (2) equity evaluation in education. Firstly, we use a nonparametric (Data Envelopment Analysis) model that is specially tailored to assess educational efficiency at the pupil level. The model accounts for the fact that typically minimal prior structure is available for the behavior (objectives and feasibility set) under evaluation. It allows for uncertainty in the data, while it corrects for exogenous 'environmental' characteristics that are specific to each pupil. Secondly, we propose two multidimensional stochastic dominance criteria as naturally complementary aggregation criteria for comparing the performance of different school types (private and public schools). While the first criterion only accounts for efficiency, the second criterion also takes equity into consideration. The model is applied for comparing private (but publicly funded) and public primary schools in Flanders. Our application finds that no school type robustly dominates another type when controlling for the school environment and taking equity into account. More generally, it demonstrates the usefulness of our nonparametric approach, which includes environmental and equity considerations, for obtaining 'fair' performance comparisons in the public sector context.
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