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

  • Justina A.V. Fischer

    ()

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.

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File URL: http://www1.vwa.unisg.ch/RePEc/usg/dp2005/DP-10_FJ.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen in its series University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2005 with number 2005-10.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:usg:dp2005:2005-10
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Phone: +41 71 224 23 25
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Web page: http://www.seps.unisg.ch/
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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Michael Fertig & Robert E. Wright, 2003. "School Quality, Educational Attainment and Aggregation Bias," RWI Discussion Papers 0009, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung.
  4. 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.
  5. T. A. Downes & D. N. Figlio, . "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.
  6. Feld, Lars P & Savioz, Marcel R, 1997. "Direct Democracy Matters for Economic Performance: An Empirical Investigation," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(4), pages 507-38.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
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