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Edu Without the State

Education with and without the State by Edwin G. West Abstract Since today’s prosperous nations were once “developing” countries, it is useful to compare their historical circumstance with those of current developing countries. The characteristics of education in 19th century Britain (then a developing country) turn out to be remarkably similar to those now reported for countries such as Belize, Mauritius and Chile. First, the growth of education is associated with increases in per capita in
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   Education with and without the State  byEdwin G. West         Abstract Since today’s prosperous nations were once “developing” countries, it is useful to comparetheir historical circumstance with those of current developing countries. The characteristics of education in 19th century Britain (then a developing country) turn out to be remarkably similar tothose now reported for countries such as Belize, Mauritius and Chile. First, the growth of educationis associated with increases in per capita income; second, parents voluntarily spend more (directlyfrom their own pockets) on education as their incomes rise; third, the growth of education combatsthe Malthusian specter of overpopulation. These findings appear to be independent of education being with or without the state.With regard to higher education, it is currently observed that its rate of return is usuallylower than that for elementary and secondary. It is recommended, accordingly, that spending bereallocated at the margin from the former to the latter sector. This calls, among other things, for higher college tuition fees in proportion to total costs. One important consequence of such tuitionincreases is growing competition between universities—this is already well in evidence in developedcountries.Competition in the delivery of education has hitherto be hindered by restrictions on entry. Anew entrant without a government charter has found it difficult to compete without a governmentsubsidy against a public university that enjoys a considerable one. But because the relative value of the subsidy falls as tuition increases, the entrant has a better chance of surviving. Evidence showsalso that survival prospects are further increased when the entrant compresses a four year into a threeyear course. The reason is that this innovation dramatically reduces the cost to the student of foregone earnings while at college. Examples of such events are provided by the independentUniversity of Buckingham (U.K.), Bond University (Australia), but most especially in the case of the nationally accredited for-profit DeVry Institutes in the U.S.A.   
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