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Competition between or within schools? Re-assessing school choice


  • Nick Adnett
  • Peter Davies


Market-based reforms of state schooling systems have been justified by the benefits anticipated from encouraging greater inter-school competition in local schooling markets. Promoting increased school choice and competition by comparison were seen as a means of stimulating greater allocative, productive and dynamic efficiency in the schooling system. However in England, school effectiveness research suggests that once adjustment is made for pupil characteristics, variations in pupil attainment levels between secondary schools are small and unstable over time. Some evidence suggests that differences in pupil attainment by subject within schools are larger, indicating the potential to raise attainment levels by increasing choice within schools. In this paper we seek to extend the school choice debate by examining the rationale for increasing competition within secondary schools.

Suggested Citation

  • Nick Adnett & Peter Davies, 2005. "Competition between or within schools? Re-assessing school choice," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(1), pages 109-121.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:edecon:v:13:y:2005:i:1:p:109-121 DOI: 10.1080/0964529042000325234

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gundlach, Erich & Wößmann, Ludger, 2001. "Better schools for Europe," Munich Reprints in Economics 20433, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    2. Levine, Phillip B & Zimmerman, David J, 1995. "The Benefit of Additional High-School Math and Science Classes for Young Men and Women," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(2), pages 137-149, April.
    3. Sherwin Rosen, 2002. "Markets and Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 1-15, March.
    4. Adnett, Nick & Bougheas, Spiros & Davies, Peter, 2002. "Market-based reforms of public schooling: some unpleasant dynamics," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 323-330, August.
    5. Philippe Aghion & Peter Howitt, 2002. "Wage Inequality and the New Economy," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(3), pages 306-323.
    6. Gradstein, Mark & Justman, Moshe, 2000. "Human capital, social capital, and public schooling," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(4-6), pages 879-890, May.
    7. John Conlisk, 1996. "Why Bounded Rationality?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(2), pages 669-700, June.
    8. Nick Adnett, 2003. "Commentary. Reforming teachers' pay: incentive payments, collegiate ethos and UK policy," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(1), pages 145-157, January.
    9. Edward P. Lazear, 2001. "Educational Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(3), pages 777-803.
    10. Hanushek, Eric A. & Kain, John F. & Rivkin, Steven G., 2004. "Disruption versus Tiebout improvement: the costs and benefits of switching schools," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1721-1746, August.
    11. Bradley, Steve & Taylor, Jim, 2002. "The Effect of the Quasi-market on the Efficiency-Equity Trade-Off in the Secondary School Sector," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(3), pages 295-314, July.
    12. Landers, Renee M & Rebitzer, James B & Taylor, Lowell J, 1996. "Rat Race Redux: Adverse Selection in the Determination of Work Hours in Law Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 329-348, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tommaso Agasisti & Patrizia Falzetti, 2017. "Between-classes sorting within schools and test scores: an empirical analysis of Italian junior secondary schools," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 64(1), pages 1-45, March.
    2. Jean-Michel Plassard & Nhu Tran Thi Thanh, 2009. "Liberté de choix des élèves et concurrence des établissements : un survey de l'analyse du pilotage des systèmes éducatifs par les quasi-marchés," Revue d'économie industrielle, De Boeck Université, vol. 0(2), pages 99-130.

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    School choice; curriculum; competition;


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