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Voter Support for Privatizing Education: Evidence on Self-Interest and Ideology

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  • Wolfram Merzyn
  • Heinrich Ursprung

Abstract

Economic theory advances various arguments in favor of and against privatizing education. In this paper we investigate the extent to which these arguments influence voters’ opinions. We analyze two popular referenda in which some 400,000 voters in two Swiss cantons expressed their opinions on the issue of education vouchers and direct subsidies to private schools. We find that successful attempts to move towards a more privatized education system rest mainly on pure income effects, some other socio-economic determinants, ideological convictions, and possibly the perceived quality of the public schools. Peer-group and tax-burden effects, which play a prominent role in the theoretical literature, do not appear to significantly influence voting behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Wolfram Merzyn & Heinrich Ursprung, 2003. "Voter Support for Privatizing Education: Evidence on Self-Interest and Ideology," CESifo Working Paper Series 999, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_999
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Niklas Potrafke, 2013. "Evidence on the political principal-agent problem from voting on public finance for concert halls," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 215-238, September.
    2. Elinder, Mikael & Jordahl, Henrik, 2013. "Political preferences and public sector outsourcing," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 43-57.
    3. Borck, Rainald & Wrohlich, Katharina, 2011. "Preferences for childcare policies: Theory and evidence," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 436-454, September.
    4. Bearse, Peter & Cardak, Buly A. & Glomm, Gerhard & Ravikumar, B., 2013. "Why do education vouchers fail at the ballot box?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 26-37.
    5. Piopiunik, Marc & Schwerdt, Guido & Woessmann, Ludger, 2013. "Central school exit exams and labor-market outcomes," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 93-108.
    6. Björn Kauder & Niklas Potrafke, 2013. "Government Ideology and Tuition Fee Policy: Evidence from the German States," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 59(4), pages 628-649, December.
    7. Niklas Potrafke, 2011. "Does government ideology influence budget composition? Empirical evidence from OECD countries," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 101-134, June.
    8. Bertacchini, Enrico & Dalle Nogare, Chiara, 2014. "Public provision vs. outsourcing of cultural services: Evidence from Italian cities," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 168-182.
    9. Cassette, Aurélie & Farvaque, Etienne, 2016. "A dirty deed done dirt cheap: Reporting the blame of a national reform on local politicians," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 127-144.
    10. repec:eee:poleco:v:48:y:2017:i:c:p:91-103 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. George Economides & Apostolis Philippopoulos & Stelios Sakkas, 2016. "Tuition Fees, as User Prices, and Private Incentives," CESifo Working Paper Series 5991, CESifo Group Munich.
    12. Weder, Beatrice & Weder, Rolf, 2009. "Switzerland.s Rise to a Wealthy Nation: Competition and Contestability as Key Success Factors," WIDER Working Paper Series 025, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    13. repec:eee:poleco:v:48:y:2017:i:c:p:144-161 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    political economy; voter behavior; privatization; education policy; vouchers;

    JEL classification:

    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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