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What educational production functions really show : a positive theory of education spending, Volume 1
 
Author:Pritchett, Lant; Filmer,Deon; Collection Title:Policy, Research working paper ; no. WPS 1795
Date Stored:1999/09/17Document Date:1997/07/31
Document Type:Policy Research Working PaperLanguage:English
Major Sector:EducationReport Number:WPS1795
Sub Sectors:Other EducationSubTopics:Environmental Economics & Policies; Curriculum & Instruction; Teaching and Learning; Economic Theory & Research; Gender and Education; Fiscal & Monetary Policy
Volume No:1  

Summary: The accumulated results of empirical studies show that the public sector typically chooses spending on inputs such that the productivity of additional spending on books and instructional materials is 10 to 100 times larger than that of additional spending on teacher inputs (for example, higher wages, small class size). The authors argue that this pervasive and systemic deviation of actual spending from the technical optimum requires a political, not economic or technical, explanation. The evidence is consistent only with a class of positive models in which public spending choices are directly influenced by a desire for higher spending on teacher inputs, over and above their role in producing educational outputs. This desire could be due either to teacher power, or bureaucratic budget-maximizing behavior, or political patronage. The authors conclude by exploring the implications of these positive political models of educational spending behavior for various types of proposed educational reforms (localized control, parental participation, vouchers, and so on) which requires an examination of how the proposed reforms shift the relative powers of the stakeholders in the educational system: students and parents, educators, bureaucrats, and politicians.

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