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Income Distribution and Public Education: A Dynamic Quantitative Evaluation of School Finance Reform

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  • Raquel Fernandez
  • Richard Rogerson

Abstract

Many states have or are considering implementing school finance reforms aimed at lessening inequality in the provision of public education across communities. These reforms will tend to have complicated aggregate effects on income distribution, intergenerational income mobility, and welfare. In order to analyze the potential effects of such reforms, this paper constructs a dynamic general equilibrium model of public education provision, calibrates it using US data, and examines the quantitative effects of a major school finance reform. The policy reform examined is a change from a system of pure local finance to one in which all funding is done at the federal level and expenditures per student are equal across communities. We find that this policy increases average income and total spending on education as a fraction of income. Moreover, there are large welfare gains associated with this policy; steady-state welfare increases by 3.2% of steady-state income.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4883.

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Date of creation: Oct 1994
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Publication status: published as American Economic Review, Vol. 88 (1998): 813-833.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4883

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  1. Saint-Paul, Gilles & Verdier, Thierry, 1993. "Education, democracy and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 399-407, December.
  2. David Card & Alan Krueger, 1990. "Does School Quality Matter? Returns to Education and the Characteristics of Public Schools in the United States," NBER Working Papers 3358, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Glomm, Gerhard & Ravikumar, B, 1992. "Public versus Private Investment in Human Capital Endogenous Growth and Income Inequality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 818-34, August.
  4. Roland Benabou, 1993. "Heterogeneity, Stratification, and Growth," NBER Working Papers 4311, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Perotti, Roberto, 1993. "Political Equilibrium, Income Distribution, and Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(4), pages 755-76, October.
  6. Westhoff, Frank, 1977. "Existence of equilibria in economies with a local public good," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 84-112, February.
  7. Epple, Dennis & Romer, Thomas, 1991. "Mobility and Redistribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 828-58, August.
  8. Zimmerman, David J, 1992. "Regression toward Mediocrity in Economic Stature," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 409-29, June.
  9. Raquel Fernandez & Richard Rogerson, 1993. "Keeping People Out: Income Distribution, Zoning and the Quality of Public Education," NBER Working Papers 4333, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard E, 1998. "Competition between Private and Public Schools, Vouchers, and Peer-Group Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 33-62, March.
  11. Durlauf, Steven N, 1996. " A Theory of Persistent Income Inequality," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 75-93, March.
  12. Epple, Dennis & Romer, Thomas & Filimon, Radu, 1988. "Community development with endogenous land use controls," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 133-162, March.
  13. Hanushek, Eric A, 1986. "The Economics of Schooling: Production and Efficiency in Public Schools," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 1141-77, September.
  14. Olsen, Edgar O., 1987. "The demand and supply of housing service: A critical survey of the empirical literature," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: E. S. Mills (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 25, pages 989-1022 Elsevier.
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Cited by:
  1. Fernandez, Raquel, 1997. "Odd versus even: comparative statics in multicommunity models," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 177-192, August.
  2. Juan A. Rojas, 2004. "On the Interaction between Education and Social Security," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 7(4), pages 932-957, October.

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