A typology of cross-national school funding regimes

Year: 2018

Author: Perry, Laura, Rowe, Emma

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper presents a typology of school funding regimes taking up a cross-national, comparative perspective. Our aim is to create an analytical tool that can be used to develop theory and empirical research about the impact of school funding regimes on educational equity. There is very little consensus in the literature in terms of how school funding is operationalized across various country contexts, with considerable variation once school type and school sector are included. For example, in some countries privately managed schools receive no public subsidies, in other contexts they receive public subsidies as well as private fees, and in other contexts they receive public subsidies and are barred from charging fees. An additional layer of complexity is that faith-based schools (e.g. Catholic schools) are in some countries considered public because they are publicly managed, whereas in other countries they are considered private.
The aim of this paper is twofold. First, we compile descriptive data about school funding regimes in OECD member countries (and by jurisdictions within countries, when appropriate). We anticipate this will be helpful for researchers since information about school funding is often considered “public knowledge” by insiders; as such, accurate information is often not easily found outside the local context. Second, we use these data to create a typology of funding regimes, capturing both public/private management and public/private sources of funding, for all school types and sectors. We anticipate that the typology will be useful for guiding analysis of a wide range of educational phenomena, such as school social segregation and stratification, and inequalities of educational opportunities and outcomes. It may also be useful for guiding future studies about the contexts, philosophies and ideologies that underpin funding regimes.