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The Impact of Direct Democracy on Public Education: Performance of Swiss Students in Reading

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  • Justina A.V. Fischer

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Abstract

This paper analyzes the impact of direct legislation at the cantonal level on the quality of public education in Switzerland, using a cross-section of individual data on reading performance similar to that used in the OECD-PISA study. For this purpose, a structural and a reduced form of an educational production function is estimated. The OLS esti­mate of a composite index of direct democracy supports the findings previously ob­tained for U.S. states in which initiative-driven tax limits have had a deleterious effect on student performance in public schools. For a more complete picture, the impact of direct democracy on several portions of the conditional test score distribution is also in­vestigated using a quantile regression method. The negative impact appears to be equal in size between the estimated quantiles and to occur exclusively through the budgetary channel. Moreover, the equipment of schools is found to matter for student per­formance. Finally, no redistributive influence on students attending the same class is found.

Suggested Citation

  • Justina A.V. Fischer, 2005. "The Impact of Direct Democracy on Public Education: Performance of Swiss Students in Reading," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2005 2005-10, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  • Handle: RePEc:usg:dp2005:2005-10
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Holger Sieg & Dennis Epple & Richard Romano, 2003. "Peer effects, financial aid and selection of students into colleges and universities: an empirical analysis," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(5), pages 501-525.
    2. Moshe Buchinsky, 1998. "Recent Advances in Quantile Regression Models: A Practical Guideline for Empirical Research," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(1), pages 88-126.
    3. T. A. Downes & D. N. Figlio, "undated". "School Finance Reforms, Tax Limits, and Student Performance: Do Reforms Level Up or Dumb Down?," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1142-97, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    4. Fertig, Michael & Wright, Robert E., 2005. "School quality, educational attainment and aggregation bias," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 109-114, July.
    5. Downes, Thomas A., 1992. "Evaluating the Impact of School Finance Reform on the Provision of Public Education: The California Case," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 45(4), pages 405-419, December.
    6. Downes, Thomas A. & Dye, Richard F. & McGuire, Therese J., 1998. "Do Limits Matter? Evidence on the Effects of Tax Limitations on Student Performance," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 401-417, May.
    7. Downes, Thomas A., 1992. "Evaluating the Impact of School Finance Reform on the Provision of Public Education: The California Case," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 45(4), pages 405-19, December.
    8. Card, David & Payne, A. Abigail, 2002. "School finance reform, the distribution of school spending, and the distribution of student test scores," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 49-82, January.
    9. Feld, Lars P & Savioz, Marcel R, 1997. "Direct Democracy Matters for Economic Performance: An Empirical Investigation," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(4), pages 507-538.
    10. Dye, Richard F. & McGuire, Therese J., 1997. "The effect of property tax limitation measures on local government fiscal behavior," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(3), pages 469-487, December.
    11. Bradbury, Katharine L. & Mayer, Christopher J. & Case, Karl E., 2001. "Property tax limits, local fiscal behavior, and property values: evidence from Massachusetts under Proposition," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 287-311, May.
    12. Downes, Thomas A, 1996. "An Examination of the Structure of Governance in California School Districts before and after Proposition 13," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 86(3-4), pages 279-307, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Justina A.V. Fischer, 2005. "Do Institutions of Direct Democracy Tame the Leviathan? Swiss Evidence on the Structure of Expenditure for Public Education," CESifo Working Paper Series 1628, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • H10 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - General

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