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Why Do Education Vouchers Fail at the Ballot Box?

We compare a uniform voucher regime against the status quo mix of public and private education, focusing on the distribution of welfare gains and losses across house- holds by income. We argue that the topping-up option available under uniform vouchers is not sufficiently valuable for the poorer households, so the voucher regime is defeated at the polls. Our result is robust to partial voter turnout and efficiency differences between public and private schools, but depends critically on the opting-out feature in the current system.

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