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A Public Economy Approach to Education: Choice and Co-Production

Gina Davis and Elinor Ostrom
International Political Science Review / Revue internationale de science politique
Vol. 12, No. 4, The Public and the Private/Le Public et le privé (Oct., 1991), pp. 313-335
Published by: Sage Publications, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1601468
Page Count: 23
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A Public Economy Approach to Education: Choice and Co-Production
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Abstract

This paper represents the development of a theoretical framework that can be used to analyze, reform, and design institutional arrangements for the provision and production of educational services. We examine current dichotomous debate over policy and reform proposals for education (hierarchical organization of schools versus market competition between schools) and question whether the nature of the puzzles associated with the provision and production of education warrant such attempts to dichotomize and search for a single, "best" solution. We show the chain of choices potentially affecting educational performance and analyze the institutional incentives and problems of both providing and producing education. We evaluate the likelihood of alternative institutional regimes exacerbating or ameliorating these provision and production problems and argue that one might think of alternative institutional arrangements as being sets of experiments--each having diverse potential for success and failure in overcoming perverse institutional incentives associated with education, but no one institutional design representing the "one best solution." /// L'article offre un cadre théorique pour l'analyse, la réforme, et le planning de la production des services éducatifs. Les auteurs questionnent la valeur d'un débat portant sur l'éducation qui s'en tiendrait á l'alternative "écoles d'Etat ou écoles soumises au jeu de l'offre et de la demande" et qui chercherait une solution unique. L'étude des choix potentiels, comme la logique de leur séquence, invite à ce que l'on traite les multiples combinaisons possibles de systèmes institutionnels différents comme autant d'expériences sujettes à des potentiels variables mais n'ayant, ni les unes ni les autres, titre de la solution idéale.

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