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Paul E. Peterson

Paul E. Peterson is Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government and Director of the Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard University. He is the author or editor of many books, including Schools and the Equal Opportunity Problem, coedited with Ludger Woessmann (MIT Press, 2007).

Titles by This Editor

Exploring Public-Private Partnerships

Public-private partnerships in education exist in various forms around the world, in both developed and developing countries. Despite this, and despite the importance of human capital for economic growth, systematic analysis has been limited and scattered, with most scholarly attention going to initiatives in the United States. This volume helps to fill the gap, bringing together recent studies on public-private partnerships in different parts of the world, including Asia, North and South America, and Europe.

These initiatives vary significantly in form and structure, and School Choice International offers not only comprehensive overviews (including a cross-country analysis of student achievement) but also detailed studies of specific initiatives in particular countries. Two chapters compare public and private schools in India and the relative efficacy of these two sectors in providing education. Other chapters examine the use of publicly funded vouchers in Chile and Colombia, reporting promising results in Colombia but ambiguous findings in Chile; and student outcomes in publicly funded, privately managed schools (similar to American charter schools) in two countries: Colombia's "concession schools" and the United Kingdom's City Academies Programme. Taken together, these studies offer important insights for scholars, practitioners, and policymakers into the purposes, directions, and effects of different public-private educational initiatives.

Contributors: Felipe Barrera, Cristian Bellei, Eric P. Bettinger, Rajashri Chakrabarti, Geeta G. Kingdon, Michael Kremer, Norman LaRocque, Stephen Machin, Karthik Muralidhara, Thomas Nechyba, Harry A. Patrinos, Paul E. Peterson, Ludger Woessmann.

Much educational research today is focused on assessing reforms that are intended to create equal opportunity for all students. Many current policies aim at concentrating extra resources on the disadvantaged. The state-of-the-art research in Schools and the Equal Opportunity Problem suggests, however, that even sizeable differential spending on the disadvantaged will not yield an equality of results. In this CESifo volume, leading scholars from the United States and Europe use the tools of economics to assess the outcome of efforts to solve education’s equal opportunity problem in a range of countries, including the United States, Britain, Germany, Sweden, and Italy.The evidence shows some routes for advancement--testing with high performance standards, for example, and well-designed school choice--but also raises considerable doubts about whether many current school policies are effective in dramatically altering the opportunity structure. The evidence presented also calls into question the idea that causal peer effects are very strong. The contributors examine such topics as the link between education and parental income, the problematic past research on peer effects, tracking, the distribution of educational outcomes, human capital policy aimed at disadvantaged students, and private/public school choice.The research suggests that achieving universal primary and secondary education is both urgently needed and feasible. Will the international community commit the necessary economic, human, and political resources? The challenge, say the editors, is "as inspiring and formidable . . . as any extraterrestrial adventures--and far more likely to enrich and improve life on earth."