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The Economic Research Institute, Stockholm School of Economics SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance

No 688:
The Impact of Direct Democracy on Public Education: Evidence for Swiss Students in Reading, Mathematics and Natural Science

Justina A.V. Fischer ()

Abstract: Empirical analyses for the US suggest that stronger people’s control over the school budget is deleterious to student performance. Using Swiss data on ninth graders in mathematics, reading and natural science collected jointly with the PISA study 2000, this paper tests this hypothesis for Switzerland, exploiting inter-cantonal variation in political institutions. For both student performance in reading and mathematics, stronger popular rights appear to lower educational achievement through the school budget channel. In particular, the qualification of teachers is identified as most influential determinant of student achievement, which is shown to be linked to educational spending.

Keywords: Direct democracy; public finance; economics of education; PISA; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: H10; H41; I28; (follow links to similar papers)

63 pages, December 31, 2007

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