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Cost of an Educational Voucher System

Listed author(s):
  • Henry Levin
  • Cyrus Driver

In this study, we suggest a framework for estimating the cost associated with a shift from the traditional method of financing and administering public schools in the US to an educational voucher system. The framework includes the accurate specification of the particular voucher plan, the system to be replaced, the setting where the plan will be applied, assumptions about the behaviour of schools and families under the plan, and the method for estimating costs. We then apply those parts of the framework that can be identified generically to compute illustrative 'ballpark' estimates in five cost areas: accommondating additional students, record keeping, student transportation, information to parents and dispute adjudication. Our estimates suggest that the public cost of a voucher plan in a representative US context could raise public educational costs by 25% or more. The costs of an overall governmental system of finance and structures that would support a voucher plan should no longer be ignored, as voucher plans are introduced and debated in the public policy arena.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Education Economics.

Volume (Year): 5 (1997)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 265-283

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Handle: RePEc:taf:edecon:v:5:y:1997:i:3:p:265-283
DOI: 10.1080/09645299700000023
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