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Economies of scale, school violence and the optimal size of schools

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This article argues that policy in relation to education has relied too extensively on the more easily measured costs of production to support a common conclusion of economies of scale in school and/or district size. It argues that there are external costs that increase with size but that can be measured less easily that offset this case. This would imply that the tendency within the education profession to advocate ever-larger school sizes is premature at best. To make the case, it models the choice of school size to emphasize that costs, such as school violence, born by both students and their parents but not (necessarily) by education administrators may result in school sizes that are too big from the perspective of school users. The second and third parts of the article introduces evidence to suggest that school violence is one of these external costs.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2004

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