Education in the Anticommons: Evidence from Romania

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Abstract

The process of administrative decentralization of the education system in Romania proceeded in chaotic steps. It was done under the pressure, on one hand, of the EU integration requirements and, on the other hand, of the local administrations who wanted more control over how their money were used in the schools and of the parents committees that wanted to have a say in the local schools. The road was scattered with new reform legislations coming with every change in government composition and ministers. The result was a combination of local autonomy and central control that had the potential to produce confusion and conflict. The multiple and complex blend of divided responsibilities and powers turned out in the process of setting up the new form or entry grade in the Romanian primary education cycle in a rational strategic play scholarly designated as anticommons. Each separated actor tries to obtain a maximizing share of the cooperatively generated benefit for a minimum possible cost. The interactions are modeled as a Game of Chicken where, because actors calculate separately, each selects a higher price/lower quantity position than is optimal, resulting in a lower net payoff both individually and collectively.

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