Voter Support for Privatizing Education: Evidence on Self-Interest and Ideology

43 Pages Posted: 21 Aug 2003

See all articles by Wolfram Merzyn

Wolfram Merzyn

Rheinische Friedrich Wilhelms Universitaet Bonn

Heinrich W. Ursprung

University of Konstanz; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Date Written: July 2003

Abstract

Economic theory advances various arguments in favor of and against privatizing education. In this paper we investigate the extent to which these arguments influence voters' opinions. We analyze two popular referenda in which some 400,000 voters in two Swiss cantons expressed their opinions on the issue of education vouchers and direct subsidies to private schools. We find that successful attempts to move towards a more privatized education system rest mainly on pure income effects, some other socio-economic determinants, ideological convictions, and possibly the perceived quality of the public schools. Peer-group and tax-burden effects, which play a prominent role in the theoretical literature, do not appear to significantly influence voting behavior.

Keywords: Political Economy, Voter Behavior, Privatization, Education Policy, Vouchers

JEL Classification: D72, I28

Suggested Citation

Merzyn, Wolfram and Ursprung, Heinrich, Voter Support for Privatizing Education: Evidence on Self-Interest and Ideology (July 2003). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 999. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=432907

Wolfram Merzyn

Rheinische Friedrich Wilhelms Universitaet Bonn ( email )

Postfach 2220
D-53012 Bonn
Germany

Heinrich Ursprung (Contact Author)

University of Konstanz ( email )

Konstanz, D-78457
Germany
+49 7531 88 3713 (Phone)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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