RECOUP Working Paper No. 37. Public-Private Partnerships and Educational Outcomes: New Conceptual and Methodological Approaches


Increasing the coverage of education to ensure that all children go to school has been addressed by national governments and international agencies, both donors and financiers. The framework of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) has been regarded by some international financial institutions such as the World Bank as a possible way to ensure this objective by bolstering demand-driven provision as well as more cost-effective supply of education (World Bank 2003, Tooley and Dixon 2005). Other international agencies, such as United Nations Economic, Social and Cultural Organisation have been less enthusiastic in their support for PPPs as a means of increasing the access to and quality of education available to poor communities.1 The considerable attention accorded to the impact of PPPs on improving the educational outcomes of the poor has made PPPs the subject of considerable policy interest. This working paper makes a contribution to our understanding of how such partnerships affect the educational experience and outcomes of the poor. The paper sets out the conceptual framework and methodology developed for the project on Public Private Partnerships and Educational Outcomes for the Poor (P3EOP). The indicators used by the project were based on motivation and action set out by the Hirschmanian framework of the 1970s to understand how individual choice operated the market for education (Hirschman 1970, 1978). The choice exercised by parents in leaving a particular school when they are no longer satisfied with the education provided is termed exit. In contrast, when parents and pupils undertake political activity to improve the provision of education is termed voice. Within this framework the term exit denotes choice in a market context while voice is evidence of political responsiveness. The notion of loyalty indicates the personal affinity of parents and pupils in the school system to a particular school. Section 2 of the paper begins with a discussion of the key terms and analysis provided in the original papers of Hirschman. Section 3 provides a discussion of the reasons for expanding the original framework. Section 4 sets out how combinations of exit, voice and loyalty can affect the manner in the demands that can be made by parents within government schools and private schools. In Section 5 presents the methodology and data collection and mapping methods that are envisaged. Finally, in Section 6 there is an exploration of how the expanded model might permit us to advance our understanding of voice, exit and loyalty in relation to both parental strategies as well as those of school authorities in relation to parental demands and their stated objectives in expanding the supply of education might play a role.


RECOUP Working Paper No. 37, October 2010, Centre for Education and International Development, University of Cambridge, UK, 25 pp.

RECOUP Working Paper No. 37. Public-Private Partnerships and Educational Outcomes: New Conceptual and Methodological Approaches

Published 1 January 2010