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Immigration and Spending on Public Education: California, 1970-2000

  • Daniele Coen-Pirani

The evolution of education spending in California has received plenty of attention by both academics and practitioners after this state's education finance reform of the 1970's. The impact on public education spending of the demographic trends associated with immigration has not been thoroughly analyzed, instead. This paper quantifies the contribution of immigration to the relative decline in elementary and secondary public education spending per student in California in the period 1970 to 2000. A simple quantitative model of school choice and voting over public education is used to perform the counterfactual experiment of interest. The model allows for household heterogeneity in income, number of school-age children, citizenship and immigration status, and preference for education. The results indicate that immigration played a quantitatively important role in accounting for the relative decline in education spending in California, especially after 1990. In the year 2000, the model predicts that education spending per student in California would have been 24 percent higher than in reality if U.S. immigration had been restricted to its 1970 level.

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Paper provided by Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business in its series GSIA Working Papers with number 2009-E2.

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Handle: RePEc:cmu:gsiawp:1236867145
Contact details of provider: Postal: Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
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