Markets for Schooling: An Economic Analysis

Markets for Schooling: An Economic Analysis

Markets for Schooling: An Economic Analysis

Markets for Schooling: An Economic Analysis

Synopsis

In this text, Nick Adnett and Peter Davies develop an economic analysis of schooling markets, emphasizing both the strengths and weaknesses of orthodox analyses.

Excerpt

This work investigates the theory and practice of market-based reforms of state schooling systems. These reforms are more the product of a particular political and economic philosophy than an attempt to imitate successful educational systems in other countries. in other words, the motivation for the reforms we are analysing in this work was ideological rather than evidential. At the heart of this ideology was economic liberalism: a belief in the efficiency of the market as a rationing and allocative mechanism. Accordingly, our investigation is based upon an economic analysis of these market-based reforms. the primary objective of this work is to make that economic analysis accessible to all researchers, administrators and policy makers. Our starting presumption is that in modern capitalist economies, the presence of market forces in education is inevitable. the fundamental policy debate concerns the desired extent and nature of those forces.

The rationale for this work rests upon three propositions. First, that economic analysis can provide unique insights into educational decision-making. Second, that both its proponents and detractors have too often equated economic analysis with unequivocal support for the extension of market forces in education. Third, that when carefully deployed, economic analysis can provide complementary insights into schooling decision-making to those achieved by other disciplines. We attempt to build our economic analysis of schooling markets using the techniques of both orthodox and heterodox analysis. Since our intention is to promote an inclusive readership, we do not utilise formal algebraic analysis or discuss in detail the modelling and econometric issues underlying empirical work in this area. We make no claim to provide a comprehensive coverage of the economic analysis of education. While we hope that our distinct objectives and innovative approach will be of interest to our fellow economists, they are not our only intended audience. Our analysis should be seen as intending to complement the existing studies of market reforms, which in Europe largely employ a sociological approach. in seeking to lower harmful inter-disciplinary barriers, wherever possible we point out both the strengths and the weaknesses of orthodox economic analysis.

A further characteristic of our approach is our attempt to examine the precise interactions between different elements of the market-based reforms. in particular, we show how any analysis of school choice reforms needs to incorporate a consideration of the associated reforms to school governance and

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