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ERIC Number: ED480733
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2000-May
Pages: 70
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Potential Impact of Large-Scale Voucher Programs. Occasional Paper.
McEwan, Patrick J.
This review assesses the potential impact of large-scale voucher programs, drawing on empirical literature in economics, education, and sociology. First, it describes the intellectual history and practice of vouchers. Second, it delineates an economic framework for understanding the effects that a voucher plan could have on schools and students. This discussion yields three research questions: (1) Are private schools more efficient than public schools? (2) Does the increasingly competitive schooling market promoted by vouchers cause public schools to become more efficient? and (3) Do vouchers result in increased student sorting across public and private schools--perhaps increasing segregation by socioeconomic status--and what does sorting portend for student outcomes? Third, the review provides a general description of research methods that have been utilized to answer these questions and some pitfalls in their application. Fourth, it assesses the empirical research in light of the three research questions. Finally, the review summarizes the main findings, gauges whether firm conclusions can be drawn about the potential of voucher programs, and suggests some new directions for research. It concludes that empirical evidence is not sufficiently compelling to justify either strong advocacy or opposition to large-scale voucher programs. (Contains 148 references.) (Author)
Teachers College, Columbia University, Box 181, 230 Thompson Hall, 525 West 120th Street, New York, NY 10027-6696. Tel: 212-678-3259; Fax: 212-678-3474; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Ford Foundation, New York, NY.; Spencer Foundation, Chicago, IL.
Authoring Institution: Columbia Univ., New York, NY. National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education.