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Vouchers for basic education in developing countries : a principal-agent perspective

Author

Listed:
  • Gauri, Varun
  • Vawda, Ayesha

Abstract

Voucher programs consist of three simultaneous reforms: (1) allowing parents to choose schools, (2) creating intense incentives for schools to increase enrollment, and (3) granting schools management autonomy to respond to demand. As a result, voucher advocates and critics tend to talk past each other. A principal-agent framework clarifies the argument for education vouchers. Central findings from the literature, including issues related to variance in the performance measure, risk aversion, the productivity of more effort, multiple tasks, and the value of monitoring are found relevant for an analysis of vouchers. An assessment of findings on voucher programs in industrial countries, as well as a review of voucher or quasi-voucher experiences in Bangladesh, Chile, Colombia, Cote d'Ivoire, and the Czech Republic support the usefulness of the analytic framework. The authors conclude that vouchers for basic education in developing countries can enhance outcomes when they are limited to modest numbers of poor students in urban settings, particularly in conjunction with existing private schools with surplus capacity. The success of more ambitious voucher programs depends on an institutional infrastructure challenging to industrial and developing countries alike.

Suggested Citation

  • Gauri, Varun & Vawda, Ayesha, 2003. "Vouchers for basic education in developing countries : a principal-agent perspective," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3005, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3005
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Swidler, Ann & Watkins, Susan Cotts, 2009. ""Teach a Man to Fish": The Sustainability Doctrine and Its Social Consequences," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(7), pages 1182-1196, July.
    2. Pablo González & Alejandra Mizala & Pilar Romaguera, 2002. "Recursos diferenciados a la educación subvencionada en Chile," Documentos de Trabajo 150, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
    3. Cáceres-Delpiano, Julio & Giolito, Eugenio P. & Castillo, Sebastián, 2015. "Early Impacts of College Aid," IZA Discussion Papers 9238, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. David Brasington, 2005. "School Choice and the Flight to Private Schools: To What Extent Are Public and Private Schools Substitutes?," Departmental Working Papers 2005-02, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.
    5. World Bank, 2004. "A Guide to Competitive Vouchers in Health," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 14836, April.
    6. David M. Brasington & Diane Hite, 2014. "School Choice: Supporters And Opponents," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 32(1), pages 76-92, January.
    7. Aline Coudouel & Stefano Paternostro, 2005. "Analyzing the Distributional Impact of Reforms : A Practioner's Guide to Trade, Monetary and Exchange Rate Policy, Utility Provision, Agricultural Markets, Land Policy and Education, Volume 1," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7251, April.
    8. Alejandra Mizala & Pilar Romaguera & Carolina Ostoic, 2004. "A Hierarchical Model for Studying Equity and Achievement in the Chilean School Choice System," Documentos de Trabajo 185, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
    9. World Bank, 2008. "The Political Economy of Policy Reform : Issues and Implications for Policy Dialogue and Development Operations," World Bank Other Operational Studies 7782, The World Bank.
    10. Carolina Ostoic & Alejandra Mizala & Pilar Romaguera, 2004. "Equity and Achievement in the Chilean School Choice Experience," Econometric Society 2004 Latin American Meetings 232, Econometric Society.
    11. Barrera-Osorio, Felipe & Raju, Dhushyanth, 2011. "Evaluating public per-student subsidies to low-cost private schools : regression-discontinuity evidence from Pakistan," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5638, The World Bank.
    12. World Bank, 2013. "Republic of Madagascar : Mitigating the Impact of the Crisis on Education," World Bank Other Operational Studies 17012, The World Bank.
    13. Harry Anthony Patrinos & Felipe Barrera-Osorio & Juliana Guaqueta, 2009. "The Role and Impact of Public-Private Partnerships in Education," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2612, April.
    14. Pauline Dixon, 2013. "International Aid and Private Schools for the Poor," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 15122.
    15. Cáceres-Delpiano, Julio & Giolito, Eugenio P., 2014. "The Impact of Age of Entry on Academic Progression," IZA Discussion Papers 8694, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    16. M. R. Bhatia & A. C. Gorter, 2007. "Improving access to reproductive and child health services in developing countries: are competitive voucher schemes an option?," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(7), pages 975-981.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Public Health Promotion; Health Monitoring&Evaluation; Gender and Education; Teaching and Learning; Primary Education; Teaching and Learning; Health Monitoring&Evaluation; Primary Education; Gender and Education; Education Reform and Management;

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