As vouchers become a more significant part of education policy debates, the time is right to consider what we know and do not know about the likely effects of adopting various voucher schemes. In the balance of this paper, the author describes both empirical and theoretical work on education that speaks to this topic. He argues that we cannot confidently predict the outcomes that would result from various voucher schemes, and he also stresses that debates over vouchers per se are not informative. Details concerning funding, targeting and discretion in the use of vouchers should greatly affect the outcomes associated with any particular voucher program.
The Journal of Economic Perspectives (JEP) attempts to fill a gap between the general interest press and most other academic economics journals. The journal aims to publish articles that will serve several goals: to synthesize and integrate lessons learned from active lines of economic research; to provide economic analysis of public policy issues; to encourage cross-fertilization of ideas among the fields of thinking; to offer readers an accessible source for state-of-the-art economic thinking; to suggest directions for future research; to provide insights and readings for classroom use; and to address issues relating to the economics profession.