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The Economics of Vouchers

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  • David F. Bradford
  • Daniel N. Shaviro

Abstract

This paper aims to provide a swift tour of the economic issues presented by vouchers and thus to fill an apparent gap in the literature for a basic survey of the subject. Among the issues it considers are: factors determining a voucher's cash-equivalence; reasons (such as paternalism, externalities, and distribution) for giving beneficiaries non-cash-equivalent vouchers rather than cash; optimal tax issues involved in the design of vouchers and the choice between vouchers and other delivery mechanisms, including factors determining the optimal marginal reimbursement rate (MRR) in a voucher program, and the similarity between this question and that of determining optimal marginal tax rates (MTRs) under the income tax; the incentive effects of voucher eligibility criteria, such as income or asset tests; factors determining the allocative and price effects of vouchers, both in the short run when unexpectedly enacted and at equilibrium; and factors relevant to the choice between private and public supply that may often overlap with the decision whether to adopt a voucher program.

Suggested Citation

  • David F. Bradford & Daniel N. Shaviro, 1999. "The Economics of Vouchers," NBER Working Papers 7092, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7092
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w7092.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Woodbury, Stephen A & Spiegelman, Robert G, 1987. "Bonuses to Workers and Employers to Reduce Unemployment: Randomized Trials in Illinois," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 513-530, September.
    2. Shaviro, Daniel, 1997. "Do Deficits Matter?," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226751122, April.
    3. Oliver Hart & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1997. "The Proper Scope of Government: Theory and an Application to Prisons," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1127-1161.
    4. Sullivan, Daniel, 1989. "Monopsony Power in the Market for Nurses," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(2), pages 135-178, October.
    5. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416-416.
    6. John Weicher, 1997. "Privatizing Subsidized Housing," Books, American Enterprise Institute, number 52726.
    7. J. A. Mirrlees, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(2), pages 175-208.
    8. Cecilia Elena Rouse, 1998. "Private School Vouchers and Student Achievement: An Evaluation of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(2), pages 553-602.
    9. Slemrod, Joel, 1990. "Optimal Taxation and Optimal Tax Systems," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 157-178, Winter.
    10. David F. Bradford & Wallace E. Oates, 1971. "The Analysis of Revenue Sharing in a New Approach to Collective Fiscal Decisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 85(3), pages 416-439.
    11. Cardarelli, Roberto & Sefton, James & Kotlikoff, Laurence J, 2000. "Generational Accounting in the UK," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(467), pages 547-574, November.
    12. Arrow, Kenneth J & Lind, Robert C, 1970. "Uncertainty and the Evaluation of Public Investment Decisions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(3), pages 364-378, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Andreas Freytag, 2002. "Estonian labour market and EMU membership - challenges and policy options," Bank of Estonia Working Papers 2002-11, Bank of Estonia, revised 10 Dec 2002.
    2. World Bank, 2006. "Urban Land and Housing Markets in the Punjab, Pakistan," World Bank Other Operational Studies 8280, The World Bank.
    3. Steven Anlian & Raymond J., 2003. "Home Purchase Certificates: The Other Housing Vouchers," European Journal of Housing Policy, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 3(3), pages 227-241, December.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H00 - Public Economics - - General - - - General
    • H80 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - General

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