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The intergenerational conflict over the provision of public education

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  • Epple, Dennis
  • Romano, Richard
  • Sieg, Holger

Abstract

We study the intergenerational conflict over the provision of public education. This conflict arises because older households without children have weaker incentives to support the provision of high quality educational services in a community than younger households with school-age children. We develop an overlapping generations model for households in a system of multiple jurisdictions. This model captures the differences in preferred policies over the life-cycle. We show that the observed inequality in educational policies across communities is not only the outcome of stratification by income, but is also determined by the stratification by age and a political process that is dominated by older voters in many urban communities with low quality of educational services. The mobility of older households creates a positive fiscal externality since it creates a larger tax base per student. This positive tax externality can dominate the negative effects that arise because older households tend to vote for lower educational expenditures. As a consequence sorting by age can reduce the inequality in educational outcomes that is driven by income sorting.

Suggested Citation

  • Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard & Sieg, Holger, 2012. "The intergenerational conflict over the provision of public education," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(3), pages 255-268.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:96:y:2012:i:3:p:255-268 DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2011.11.002
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    Cited by:

    1. Brülhart, Marius & Bucovetsky, Sam & Schmidheiny, Kurt, 2015. "Taxes in Cities," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Elsevier.
    2. Sofia N. Andreou & Panos Pashardes & Nicoletta Pashourtidou, 2015. "The value of state education to consumers," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 05-2015, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
    3. Baicker, Katherine & Clemens, Jeffrey & Singhal, Monica, 2012. "The rise of the states: U.S. fiscal decentralization in the postwar period," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 1079-1091.
    4. Roller, Marcus & Schmidheiny, Kurt, 2016. "Effective Tax Rates and Effective Progressivity in a Fiscally Decentralized Country," CEPR Discussion Papers 11152, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Brunner, Eric J. & Johnson, Erik B., 2016. "Intergenerational conflict and the political economy of higher education funding," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 73-87.
    6. Prettner, Klaus, 2013. "Public education, technological change and economic prosperity," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 149, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    7. Matthew Davis & Fernando V. Ferreira, 2017. "Housing Disease and Public School Finances," NBER Working Papers 24140, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Saito, Hitoshi, 2017. "The effects of population ageing on public education in Japan : A reinterpretation using micro data," MPRA Paper 79848, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. repec:got:cegedp:149 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Multicommunity equilibrium; Intergenerational conflict; Public education;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)

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