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Income Inequality, the Median Voter, and the Support for Public Education

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  • Sean Corcoran
  • William N. Evans

Abstract

Using a panel of U.S. school districts spanning 1970 - 2000, we examine the relationship between income inequality and fiscal support for public education. In contrast with recent theoretical and empirical work suggesting a negative relationship between inequality and public spending, we find results consistent with a median voter model, in which inequality that reduces the median voter's tax share induces higher local spending on public education. We estimate that 12 to 22 percent of the increase in local school spending over this period is attributable to rising inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • Sean Corcoran & William N. Evans, 2010. "Income Inequality, the Median Voter, and the Support for Public Education," NBER Working Papers 16097, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16097
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H72 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Budget and Expenditures
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid

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