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ERIC Number: ED464980
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Feb
Pages: 28
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
An Economic Case against Vouchers: Why Local Public Schools Are a Local Public Good. Dartmouth Economics Department Working Paper.
Fischel, William A.
This article offers an explanation and economic rationale for the failure of vouchers to be generally accepted by the public, suggesting that public schools are in fact a local public good. The reason economists fail to notice this is they look exclusively to the educational activity of the schools. Education is actually a private good, being both rival in its consumption and excludable in its provision. Its only arguable "publicness" stems from the benefits that cannot be appropriated by the person educated. These spillovers are best internalized by state and national subsidies to private education. The publicness of public schools accrues largely to the parents of schoolchildren and to other adult community residents. Having children in a local school enables voters to get to know one another better, which in turn reduces the transaction costs of providing other local public goods. Community-specific social capital makes it easier for residents to round up others to oppose the "ugly" building proposed in their neighborhood or to lobby the city council to build a bypass to alleviate local traffic congestion. This benefit cannot usually be obtained from private education because private schools have a geographically dispersed clientele, living in different political jurisdictions. Vouchers would disperse students from their communities and thereby lower the community-specific capital of adult residents. (Contains 40 references.) (Author/SM)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A