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Evidence on the Impact of State Government on Primary and Secondary Education and the Equity-Efficiency Trade-Off

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Author Info

  • Husted, Thomas A
  • Kenny, Lawrence W

Abstract

State governments may affect the productivity of primary and secondary education in two ways. First, various regulations imposed on local school districts are expected to make schools less efficient. Second, state efforts to reduce inequality in education spending make it more difficult for voters to increase school quality, which should lead to less voter monitoring of schools and thus less efficient schools. Our empirical analysis of state Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores from 1987 to 1992 provides evidence on both effects. The state's revenue share, which captures state meddling in local decisions, has the expected negative impact on school efficiency. But our novel result is that state-induced spending equalization also lowers average test scores but has had little if any effect on reducing the disparity in student achievement. These results bring into question policy efforts designed to shift education responsibilities from local governments to state and federal governments. Copyright 2000 by the University of Chicago.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Law & Economics.

Volume (Year): 43 (2000)
Issue (Month): 1 (April)
Pages: 285-308

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:43:y:2000:i:1:p:285-308

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Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLE/

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Cited by:
  1. Thomas A. Downes, 2002. "Do state governments matter?: a review of the evidence on the impact on educational outcomes of the changing role of the states in the financing of public education," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 47(Jun), pages 143-180.
  2. Kalyan Chakraborty & John Poggio, 2008. "Efficiency and Equity in School Funding: A Case Study for Kansas," International Advances in Economic Research, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 228-241, May.
  3. Lawrence Kenny, 2005. "The public choice of educational choice," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 124(1), pages 205-222, July.
  4. Clifford Grammich, 2004. "Many Faiths of Many Regions: Continuities and Changes Among Religious Adherents Across U.S. Counties," Working Papers 211, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  5. Thomas Downes, 2003. "School Finance Reform and School Quality: Lessons from Vermont," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0309, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  6. Eric J. Brunner & Jon Sonstelie, 2006. "California's School Finance Reform: An Experiment in Fiscal Federalism," Working papers 2006-09, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  7. Joshua Hall, 2007. "Local School Finance and Productive Efficiency: Evidence from Ohio," Atlantic Economic Journal, International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 35(3), pages 289-301, September.
  8. Lott, Johnathan & Kenny, Lawrence W., 2013. "State teacher union strength and student achievement," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 93-103.

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