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Education Vouchers in Principle and Practice: A Survey

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  • West, Edwin G

Abstract

An education voucher system exists when governments make payments to families that enable their children to enter public or private schools of their choice. The tax-funded payments can be made directly to parents or indirectly to the selected schools; their purpose is to increase parental choice, to promote school competition, and to allow low-income families access to private schools. Some opponents predict that vouchers will destroy the public system, aggravate poverty, and foster segregation. Others fear that voucher-receiving independent schools will be regulated out of recognition. The main purpose of this article is to examine the recent emergence of voucher systems as an interesting phenomenon in its own right. The evidence summarized relates to voucher systems operating in twenty countries, provinces, and states. The typical "funds-follow-the-child" voucher system, in which governments subsidize "schools of choice" in strict proportion to enrollment, appears to be the favorite form. This type of voucher has been adopted by developing countries‹notably Bangladesh, Belize, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, and Lesotho‹as well as by industrial countries such as Poland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Much of the recorded experience with such programs is pertinent to the longstanding theoretical debates on the desirability of voucher systems.

Suggested Citation

  • West, Edwin G, 1997. "Education Vouchers in Principle and Practice: A Survey," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 12(1), pages 83-103, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:wbrobs:v:12:y:1997:i:1:p:83-103
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    1. Friedman, Ernest H., 1993. "Letter to the editor," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 383-383, February.
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    3. Herbert J. Walberg and Joseph L. Bast, 1993. "School Choice: The Essential Reform," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 13(1), pages 101-121, Spring/Su.
    4. West, Edwin G., 1991. "Public schools and excess burdens," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 159-169, June.
    5. Friedman, Ernest H., 1993. "Letter to the editor," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 583-583, February.
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    7. Hettich, Walter, 1969. "Mixed Public and Private Financing of Education: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(1), pages 210-212, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cardak, Buly A., 2005. "Education Vouchers, Growth, And Income Inequality," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(01), pages 98-121, February.
    2. John Creedy, 2006. "Education Vouchers: Means Testing Versus Uniformity," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 978, The University of Melbourne.
    3. David Brasington, 2005. "School Choice and the Flight to Private Schools: To What Extent Are Public and Private Schools Substitutes?," Departmental Working Papers 2005-02, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.
    4. Mark Gradstein & Moshe Justman, 2002. "Education, Social Cohesion, and Economic Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1192-1204, September.
    5. Bearse, Peter & Glomm, Gerhard & Ravikumar, B., 2000. "On the political economy of means-tested education vouchers," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(4-6), pages 904-915, May.
    6. Jaag, Christian, 2006. "School Competition," MPRA Paper 339, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Raymond, Melanie & Sadoulet, Elisabeth, 2001. "The Impact Of Educational Grants On Basic Education Completion: Do The Poor Benefit?," 2001 Annual meeting, August 5-8, Chicago, IL 20585, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    8. Alejandra Mizala & Pilar Romaguera, 1998. "Desempeño escolar y elección de colegios: La experiencia chilena," Documentos de Trabajo 36, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
    9. Cohen-Zada, Danny & Justman, Moshe, 2003. "The political economy of school choice: linking theory and evidence," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 277-308, September.
    10. UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre. MONEE project, 1998. "Education for All?," Papers remore98/3, Regional Monitoring Report.
    11. David M. Brasington & Diane Hite, 2014. "School Choice: Supporters And Opponents," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 32(1), pages 76-92, January.
    12. Pauline Dixon, 2013. "International Aid and Private Schools for the Poor," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 15122.
    13. Gradstein, Mark & Justman, Moshe, 2001. "Public Education and the Melting Pot," CEPR Discussion Papers 2924, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    14. Rafael Granell, 2002. "Education Vouchers in Spain: The Valencian Experience," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(2), pages 119-132.
    15. Pablo González & Alejandra Mizala & Pilar Romaguera, 2002. "Recursos diferenciados a la educación subvencionada en Chile," Documentos de Trabajo 150, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
    16. Pablo González, 2002. "Elementos de la regulación de la actividad privada en educación," Documentos de Trabajo 118, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
    17. Alejandra Mizala & Pilar Romaguera & Carolina Ostoic, 2004. "A Hierarchical Model for Studying Equity and Achievement in the Chilean School Choice System," Documentos de Trabajo 185, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
    18. Benedikt Langner, 2005. "Bildungsreform und Werteerziehung: Eine ökonomische Betrachtung," Otto-Wolff-Institut Discussion Paper Series 03/2005, Otto-Wolff-Institut für Wirtschaftsordnung, Köln, Deutschland.
    19. Egbert Henrik & Hildenbrand Andreas, 2012. "Der Coupon-Handelsansatz als Modell für eine subjektbezogene Finanzierung der Kinderbetreuung / The Coupon Trading Approach as a Model for a Subject-based Financing System of Early Childhood Education," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 232(2), pages 116-128, April.

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