Quality-Quantity Tradeoffs in Pricing Public Secondary Education

67 Pages Posted: 16 Sep 2019

See all articles by Robert Garlick

Robert Garlick

Duke University - Department of Economics

Date Written: August 22, 2019


Most governments provide some public education and must choose how to finance it from fiscal transfers and user fees. I study the effects of a shift from mixed funding to pure fiscal transfers in South African secondary schools. Fee elimination increased enrollment in early grades but decreased enrollment in later grades and both pass counts and pass rates on graduation exams. The latter patterns can be explained by crowding that generated reductions in proxies for instructional quality and hence learning outcomes. This demonstrates that price ceilings without supply-side investments may have limited or even negative effects on education outcomes.

JEL Classification: I22, I24, I25, I28, O15

Suggested Citation

Garlick, Robert, Quality-Quantity Tradeoffs in Pricing Public Secondary Education (August 22, 2019). Economic Research Initiatives at Duke (ERID) Working Paper No. 290, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3453239 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3453239

Robert Garlick (Contact Author)

Duke University - Department of Economics ( email )

213 Social Sciences Building
Box 90097
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States

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