There is general agreement among economists as to the potential economies of scale that can be reaped by distance education systems, and a number of general models have been developed to explain how the costs of distance education systems are structured and behave (see section 8.2 below). The majority of the models are, however, relatively crude and there is much less consensus about the best way of actually costing distance education. Indeed those developing and working in such systems have frequently under-estimated the costs involved or found in difficult to explain and justify the level of costs and their behaviour to their political masters, the governments or institutions that have set them up (Snowden and Daniel, 1980, p.76; Swinerton and Hogan, 1981, p.1).


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