Monday, February 3, 2020

Fake Private Schooling

Under the headline, The private school experiment in Liberia, Tyler Cowen quotes from a new American Economic Review paper by Mauricio Romero, Justin Sandefur, and Wayne Aaron Sandholtz:
In 2016, the Liberian government delegated management of 93 randomly selected public schools to private providers. Providers received US$50 per pupil, on top of US$50 per pupil annual expenditure in control schools. After one academic year, students in out-sourced schools scored 0.18 σ higher in English and mathematics. We do not find heterogeneity in learning gains or enrollment by student characteristics, but there is significant heterogeneity across providers. While outsourcing appears to be a cost-effective way to use new resources to improve test scores, some providers engaged in unforeseen and potentially harmful behavior, complicating any assessment of welfare gains.
Cowen then discusses the paper from a technical perspective with such comments as:
That said costs are higher with the private contracting. 
He then concludes:
This is in any case a very important paper, likely to be one of the best and most significant of the year.
But, despite what the Cowne headline says, this is not private schooling. It is government money used to fund government chosen schools.

Where is the private here?

It is not in the funding and it is not in the choosing of school to be funded.

The authors of the paper are more accurate by referring to the program as "outsourcing."

That is a government program, with minor technical twists that have nothing to do with the fact that the government is in control from start to finish.


1 comment:

  1. Have you see this?