Marketing and school choice: a systematic literature review

Ellen Greaves, Deborah Wilson, Agnes Nairn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (SciVal)
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School-choice programs may increase schools' incentives for marketing rather than improving their educational offering. This article systematically reviews the literature on the marketing activities of primary and secondary schools worldwide. The 81 articles reviewed show that schools’ marketing has yet to be tackled by marketing academics or other social scientists outside the education field. Market-oriented U.S. charter schools and their international equivalents have stimulated recent research, but geographical gaps remain, particularly in countries with long-established school-choice policies and in rural areas. Schools deploy a range of marketing techniques with the intensity of activity directly correlated to the level of local competition and their position in the local hierarchy. Studies have analyzed schools’ use of market scanning, specific words and images in brochures, branding, segmentation, and targeting. These marketing activities are rarely accompanied by substantive curricular change, however, and may even contribute to social division through targeting or deceptive marketing activity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)825-861
Number of pages37
JournalReview of Educational Research
Issue number6
Early online date15 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2023


  • administration
  • admissions
  • competition
  • curriculum
  • diversity
  • economics of education
  • educational policy
  • marketing
  • marketing communications
  • school choice
  • secondary data analysis
  • social division

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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