Hayek vs Friedman on school choice

Commenter Robert suggests, regarding my post suggesting Milton Friedman influenced views in favour of competitive curricula on government not delivering school education, that

It could just be that better read classical liberals tend to favour freedom in education (and perhaps freedom in other areas) and it’s not Friedman specific. Is it worth testing whether the effect from Friedman is greater than having read other liberal thinkers?

I’m sorry to report it, as I like and admire Friedman rather than just admire Hayek, but a test comparing Friedman readers and Hayek readers (Hayek being the second most popular classical liberal writer among classical liberals, after Friedman) suggests that Robert is right. Hayek readers are slightly more likely to give the ‘correct’ classical liberal responses to questions on school curriculum setting and funding.

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A Friedman effect on school opinion?

One of the surprising features of the Australian political identity survey results for classical liberals was the large proportion with statist views on education. From a purely ideological perspective, it seems unlikely that a classical liberal could conclude that any monopoly control of curriculum was a good idea, and especially not a government monopoly. And from a purely practical perspective, the public education system isn’t exactly the greatest advertisement for the state as a service provider.

No 20th century classical liberal did more to argue the case for decentralising control of school education than Milton Friedman. So I wondered if the classical liberals in the survey who said that they had read Milton Friedman would have different views on education issues compared to those who had not. It turns out that they do.

Continue reading “A Friedman effect on school opinion?”

Views on refugee totals, by boat or plane

It’s not quite the question on refugees as such that I was looking for, but if I had not been behind in Pollytics blog reading I would have seen this post reporting an Essential Research poll last year on the size of the refugee program. The table below, taken from Pollytics, shows that a small majority in late July and early August 2008 were opposed to the program at its current size.


The same poll found that 62% of respondents thought that previous tough policies on asylum seekers were about right or not tough enough.

Overall, it does look like voters have issues with the refugee program as such, though some of those who are happy with the size of the program seem also to favour tough action against self-selecting refugees.