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How Information Affects Support for Education Spending: Evidence from Survey Experiments in Germany and the United States

Author

Listed:
  • West, Martin R.

    () (Harvard Graduate School of Education)

  • Woessmann, Ludger

    () (Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

  • Lergetporer, Philipp

    () (Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

  • Werner, Katharina

    () (Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

Abstract

To study whether current spending levels and public knowledge of them contribute to transatlantic differences in policy preferences, we implement parallel survey experiments in Germany and the United States. In both countries, support for increased education spending and teacher salaries falls when respondents receive information about existing levels. Treatment effects vary by prior knowledge in a manner consistent with information effects rather than priming. Support for salary increases is inversely related to salary levels across American states, suggesting that salary differences could explain much of Germans' lower support for increases. Information about the tradeoffs between specific spending categories shifts preferences from class-size reduction towards alternative purposes.

Suggested Citation

  • West, Martin R. & Woessmann, Ludger & Lergetporer, Philipp & Werner, Katharina, 2016. "How Information Affects Support for Education Spending: Evidence from Survey Experiments in Germany and the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 10357, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10357
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Wo[ss]mann, Ludger & West, Martin, 2006. "Class-size effects in school systems around the world: Evidence from between-grade variation in TIMSS," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 695-736, April.
    2. Glomm, Gerhard & Ravikumar, B. & Schiopu, Ioana C., 2011. "The Political Economy of Education Funding," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    3. Alesina, Alberto & Di Tella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert, 2004. "Inequality and happiness: are Europeans and Americans different?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 2009-2042, August.
    4. Leonardo Bursztyn, 2016. "Poverty And The Political Economy Of Public Education Spending: Evidence From Brazil," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 14(5), pages 1101-1128, October.
    5. Philipp Lergetporer & Guido Schwerdt & Katharina Werner & Ludger Woessmann, 2016. "Information and Preferences for Public Spending: Evidence from Representative Survey Experiments," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2016-07, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.
    6. repec:cup:apsrev:v:92:y:1998:i:03:p:545-558_21 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Cruces, Guillermo & Perez-Truglia, Ricardo & Tetaz, Martin, 2013. "Biased perceptions of income distribution and preferences for redistribution: Evidence from a survey experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 100-112.
    8. Hanushek, Eric A. & Woessmann, Ludger, 2015. "The Knowledge Capital of Nations: Education and the Economics of Growth," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262029170, January.
    9. Eric A. Hanushek, 2003. "The Failure of Input-Based Schooling Policies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(485), pages 64-98, February.
    10. Julio J. Elias & Nicola Lacetera & Mario Macis, 2015. "Sacred Values? The Effect of Information on Attitudes toward Payments for Human Organs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(5), pages 361-365, May.
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    12. Clinton, Joshua D. & Grissom, Jason A., 2015. "Public information, public learning and public opinion: democratic accountability in education policy," Journal of Public Policy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 35(03), pages 355-385, December.
    13. repec:cup:apsrev:v:84:y:1990:i:02:p:497-512_19 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Michael B. Henderson & Philipp Lergetporer & Paul E. Peterson & Katharina Werner & Martin R. West & Ludger Wößmann, 2015. "Is Seeing Believing? How Americans and Germans Think about their Schools," ifo Working Paper Series 202, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lergetporer, Philipp & Werner, Katharina & Woessmann, Ludger, 2018. "Educational Inequality and Public Policy Preferences: Evidence from Representative Survey Experiments," IZA Discussion Papers 11730, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Grewenig, Elisabeth & Lergetporer, Philipp & Simon, Lisa & Werner, Katharina & Woessmann, Ludger, 2018. "Can Online Surveys Represent the Entire Population?," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 117, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    3. repec:aea:aejmic:v:9:y:2017:i:4:p:108-40 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:eee:poleco:v:53:y:2018:i:c:p:161-185 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    policy preferences; cross-country comparison; Germany; United States; education spending; information; survey experiments;

    JEL classification:

    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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