At a conference next month, the Newcastle University researchers will cite examples of private schools set up for poor families in India and China to back their claims.
James Stanfield, one of the researchers, said: "In India, where the state system is failing horribly, people are setting up their own, very cheap, private schools.
"This is something we would envisage happening five to 10 years down the line if things don't improve in this country in inner city schools."
He also cited the example of charitable educational trusts in the United States, saying that educational tax credits could encourage a similar phenomenon in the UK.
Douglas Dewey of the Children's Scholarship Fund in the US, who is speaking at the conference, said: "The poor have by far the worst shake from government schools today.
"With rare exceptions, low-income children are relegated to schools that are bleak, hopeless, and loveless. Private and parochial schools - particularly in urban settings - are oases of opportunity and hope.
"The only solution for education is a cultural renaissance of parental sovereignty - where the conditions inherent in private schools become ubiquitous."
The university is launching its EG West Centre for Market Solutions in Education with a conference entitled 'Private education - the poor's best chance' to be held on March 16 at the Institute of Economic Affairs in London.