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Political Preferences And The Privatization Of Education: Evidence From The UK


  • Clive Belfield


This paper investigates the determinants of political support for the privatization of education in the UK. In pledging support, the electorate is assumed to form opinions about the effects of education policies and reforms and then apply cost-benefit calculations, depending on their circumstances. Based on assumptions about the effects of a reform and the cost-benefit calculus, it is possible to identify which voters would oppose or advocate educational reforms such as greater school competition, ability selection and promotion of private schooling. Support for these reforms is then estimated using the British Educational Panel Survey (1997). The results indicate that political preferences largely reflect the anticipated personal costs and benefits from educational reforms. Those with children are in favour of reforms to raise school competition; those working in the education sector are against such reform. Those with higher anticipated tax liabilities favour privatization and support private schooling. Overall, however, educational reforms toward privatization received only minority support in Britain as of 1997.

Suggested Citation

  • Clive Belfield, 2003. "Political Preferences And The Privatization Of Education: Evidence From The UK," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(2), pages 155-168.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:edecon:v:11:y:2003:i:2:p:155-168 DOI: 10.1080/09645290210131674

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Barry Nalebuff & Ron Shachar, 1999. "Follow the Leader: Theory and Evidence on Political Participation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 525-547, June.
    2. Victor R. Fuchs & Alan B. Krueger & James M. Poterba, 1998. "Economists' Views about Parameters, Values, and Policies: Survey Results in Labor and Public Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1387-1425, September.
    3. Randall K. Filer & Daniel Munich, 2000. "Responses of Private and Public Schools to Voucher Funding:The Czech and Hungarian Experience," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp160, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    4. Wyckoff, James H., 1984. "The nonexcludable publicness of primary and secondary public education," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 331-351, August.
    5. Eric A. Hanushek, 1998. "Conclusions and controversies about the effectiveness of school resources," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Mar, pages 11-27.
    6. Henry M. Levin, 1998. "Educational vouchers: Effectiveness, choice, and costs," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(3), pages 373-392.
    7. Lankford, R. Hamilton, 1985. "Preferences of citizens for public expenditures on elementary and secondary education," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 1-20, January.
    8. Murray, Sheila E & Evans, William N & Schwab, Robert M, 1998. "Education-Finance Reform and the Distribution of Education Resources," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 789-812, September.
    9. Blair, John P. & Staley, Sam, 1995. "Quality competition and public schools: Further evidence," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 193-198, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Merzyn, Wolfram & Ursprung, Heinrich W., 2005. "Voter support for privatizing education: evidence on self-interest and ideology," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 33-58, March.
    2. Chantal Oggenfuss & Stefan C. Wolter, 2014. "Are the education policy preferences of teachers just a reflection of their occupational concerns?," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0101, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW).

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    Privatization; School Choice;


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