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The Cost of School Consolidation Policy: Implications from Decomposing School Commuting Distances in Yanqing, Beijing


School consolidation may be an effective policy option in regions where demand for schooling is thin—after taking into account its effects on the school commuting distance, the education quality and economies of scale. The effects of consolidation on the educational quality and the economies of scale have been well researched; but studies on the commuting distance are limited in scope because they usually rely on comparing distances pre- and post-consolidation—which may exaggerate the consolidation’s effect. In this study, optimization approaches are used to decompose school commuting distances at Yanqing, Beijing, based on survey data. The costs of long-distance school commuting as a result of consolidation are estimated after decomposing the effects of school districting, school location and financial stimulation. The findings indicate that these factors contribute significantly to pupils’ long travel distance, and the negative effect of consolidation on school size standardization is exaggerated. These results imply that long-distance school commuting should not be the rationale for a suspension of the central government’s consolidation policy.

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Correspondence to Zheng-bing Liu.

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Dai, Tq., Wang, L., Zhang, Yc. et al. The Cost of School Consolidation Policy: Implications from Decomposing School Commuting Distances in Yanqing, Beijing. Appl. Spatial Analysis 12, 191–204 (2019).

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  • School consolidation
  • Decomposing school distances
  • School districting
  • School consolidation policy
  • Spatial optimization