Giuseppe Bertola, 11 July 2013

School voucher programmes that are meant to allow students who could not otherwise afford private schools to attend them are often hotly, and often emotionally, debated. This column presents findings based on the PISA survey of private education in 72 countries and regions. Evidence suggests that in countries with basic government-provided education, private schools occupy a high-quality market niche. Overall, the education policy menu should include improvement of public education standards as well as vouchers, which policymakers in countries with better public education should not adopt without considering their distributional and efficiency implications. While they can be beneficial, voucher schemes do not enhance overall equality of opportunities and efficiency in countries where governments supply high-quality education.

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