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Education Vouchers, Growth and Income Inequality

  • Buly A Cardak


    (Department of Economics and Finance, La Trobe University)

This paper uses a growth model with public and private education alternatives to investigate the implications of education voucher for economic growth and the evolution of income inequality. The results indicate that introducing education vouchers can increase economic growth. families that switch from public to private education due to vouchers experience higher incomes, leading to growth in the tax base which in turn raises public education expenditures and increases the growth of the whole economy. Vouchers have an ambiguous effect on income inequality. Gini coefficients indicate increasing inequality while other measures indicate decreased inequality. Comparing income distributions using generalised Lorenz curves, the distribution under a voucher scheme dominates the distribution without voucher. This implies that in the long run, vouchers offer a welfare improvement. In short run welfare comparisons however, more than half the population is worse off with vouchers, which is consistent with the repeated failures if voucher referenda in the US. The results add a new dimension on which vouchers can be evaluated in the continuing policy debate.

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Paper provided by School of Economics, La Trobe University in its series Working Papers with number 2001.06.

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Length: 57 pages
Date of creation: 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ltr:wpaper:2001.06
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  1. 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.
  2. Mark Gradstein & Moshe Justman, . "Democratic Choice of an Education System: Implications for Growth and Income Distribution," CARESS Working Papres 97-05, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  3. Bearse, P. & Glomm, G. & Ravikumar, B., 1999. "On the Political Economy of Means-Tested Education Vouchers," Papers 9904, Michigan State - Econometrics and Economic Theory.
  4. Galor, Oded & Zeira, Joseph, 1988. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," MPRA Paper 51644, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 01 Sep 1989.
  5. Buly A Cardak, 2004. "Education Vouchers, Growth and Income Inequality," Working Papers 2004.03, School of Economics, La Trobe University.
  6. Eckstein, Zvi & Zilcha, Itzhak, 1994. "The effects of compulsory schooling on growth, income distribution and welfare," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 339-359, July.
  7. Galor, Oded, 1996. "Convergence? Inferences from Theoretical Models," CEPR Discussion Papers 1350, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Thomas J. Nechyba, 2000. "Mobility, Targeting, and Private-School Vouchers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 130-146, March.
  9. repec:ltr:wpaper:2002.03 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. David Card & Alan Krueger, 1990. "Does School Quality Matter? Returns to Education and the Characteristics of Public Schools in the United States," NBER Working Papers 3358, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Gerhard Glomm & B. Ravikumar, 1998. "Flat-Rate Taxes, Government Spending on Education, and Growth," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(1), pages 306-325, January.
  12. Kaganovich, M & Zilcha, I, 1997. "Education, Social Security and Growth," Papers 1-97, Tel Aviv.
  13. Buly A Cardak, 2002. "Education Choice, Endogenous Growth and Income Distribution," Working Papers 2002.03, School of Economics, La Trobe University.
  14. Glomm, Gerhard & Ravikumar, B, 1992. "Public versus Private Investment in Human Capital Endogenous Growth and Income Inequality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 818-34, August.
  15. Lee A. Lillard, 1975. "Inequality: Earnings vs. Human Wealth," NBER Working Papers 0080, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:113:y:1998:i:2:p:553-602 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard E., 1996. "Ends against the middle: Determining public service provision when there are private alternatives," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(3), pages 297-325, November.
  18. Hoyt, William H. & Lee, Kangoh, 1998. "Educational vouchers, welfare effects, and voting," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 211-228, June.
  19. 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.
  20. Gradstein, Mark & Justman, Moshe, 2000. "Human capital, social capital, and public schooling," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(4-6), pages 879-890, May.
  21. Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard E, 1998. "Competition between Private and Public Schools, Vouchers, and Peer-Group Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 33-62, March.
  22. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
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