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Combining Market and Bureaucratic Control in Education: An Answer to Market and Bureaucratic Failure?

Vincent Vandenberghe
Comparative Education
Vol. 35, No. 3 (Nov., 1999), pp. 271-282
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3099479
Page Count: 12
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Combining Market and Bureaucratic Control in Education: An Answer to Market and Bureaucratic Failure?
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Abstract

This article focuses on institutional arrangements in education across Western countries. It essentially deals with the recent trend towards extended school choice presumably aimed at creating a competitive environment for schools and teachers. For many years the functioning of educational systems, in particular the way schools were institutionally co-ordinated, was not perceived as fundamental to economic analysis. But more and more economists now believe that the institutional setting in which schools are embedded-their governance structure-is decisive regarding both efficiency and equity. In this respect, it is worth noting that most Western countries rely essentially on bureaucratic control to co-ordinate their educational sector. Yet some of them, such as Belgium, The Netherlands, England and Wales, New Zealand and Sweden incorporate market-oriented mechanisms at the heart of their institutional arrangements. The main focus of this article is to analyse the origins, as well as the economic relevance, of this-in some cases relatively recent-tendency to mix bureaucratic and market approaches to education.

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