Issues in Decentralizing the Provision of Education
This paper analyzes some of the problems that arise in decentralizing education to the private sector. We concentrate on the difficulties that result from heterogeneity among students and competition among schools in a locational setting. We analyze two main issues, the resources expended by schools and the mix of students in schools, and report on results for two others, the location of schools and their number. For each of these, we investigate the extent to which decentralizing the provision of schooling results in an efficient allocation of resources, and consider the use of vouchers to improve the situation. Our analysis draws on elements of three distinct methodologies: the theory of clubs, location theory, and the theory of monopolistic competition. We find that private schooling will typically be inefficient, but that inefficiency may sometimes be corrected by appropriately designed vouchers.
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