Yesterday’s New York Times included a story headlined Free Market For Education: Economists Generally Don’t Buy It, and it stated,
The odds are good that privatizing education will be part of the agenda for President-elect Donald J. Trump’s administration. […] You might think that most economists agree with this overall approach, because economists generally like free markets. For example, over 90 percent of the members of the University of Chicago’s panel of leading economists thought that ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft made consumers better off by providing competition for the highly regulated taxi industry.But economists are far less optimistic about what an unfettered market can achieve in education. Only a third of economists on the Chicago panel agreed that students would be better off if they all had access to vouchers to use at any private (or public) school of their choice.
While economists are trained about the value of free markets, they are also trained to spot when markets can’t work alone and government intervention is required.
That summation, however, was misleading to the point of falsehood. As the Scott Alexander points out at his blog Slate Star Codex, the source for the story indicated something quite different—materially different:
Got that? Scott Alexander writes: