Working Paper No. 1228

“Post-Truth” Schooling and Marketized Education: Explaining the Decline in Sweden’s School Quality

Published: September 10, 2018Pages: 50Keywords: For-profit schools; Marketized education; School choice; Social constructivism; Voucher systemJEL-codes: H42; H44; H75; I22; I28; L88

“Post-Truth” Schooling and Marketized Education: Explaining the Decline in Sweden’s School Quality Magnus Henrekson and Johan Wennström


The Swedish school system suffers from profound problems with teacher recruitment and retention, knowledge decline, and grade inflation. Absenteeism is high, and psychiatric disorders have risen sharply among Swedish pupils in the last ten years.

In this pioneering analysis of the consequences of combining institutionalized social constructivism with extensive marketization of education, we suggest that these problems regarding school quality are to no small extent a result of the Swedish school system’s unlikely combination of a postmodern view of truth and knowledge, the ensuing pedagogy of child-centered discovery, and market principles.

Our study adds to the findings from previous attempts to study the effects of social-constructivist pedagogy in nonmarket contexts and yields the implication that caution is necessary for countries, notably the U.S., that have a tradition of social-constructivist practices in their education systems and are considering implementing or expanding market-based school reforms.

Magnus Henrekson

Contact

Ph: +46 (0)8 665 4502
magnus.henrekson@ifn.se

Johan Wennström

Contact

Ph: +46 8 665 4581; +46 700 89 5865
johan.wennstrom@ifn.se

Elgar Companion to

Social Capital and Health

Martin Ljunge okt 2018.jpg

Martin Ljunge, IFN, is the author of a chapter, "Trust promotes health: addressing reverse causality by studying children of immigrants", in a new book edited by Sherman Folland and Eric Nauenberg. The cutting edge of research is presented, covering the ever-expanding social capital field.

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