IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Welfare state generosity and student performance: Evidence from international student tests

  • Falch, Torberg
  • Fischer, Justina AV

Student achievement has been identified as important contributor to economic growth. This paper investigates the relationship between redistributive government activities and investment in human capital measured by student performance in international comparative tests in Mathematics and Science during the period 1980 to 2003. In fixed effects panel models, government consumption, government social expenditures, and the progressivity of the income tax system have negative effects on student achievement. The results are robust to a variety of model specifications, including models that condition on educational expenditures. Our best estimate indicates that increased government size by 10 percent reduces student achievement by 0.1 standard deviations

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: original version
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 35269.

in new window

Date of creation: 07 Dec 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:35269
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Ludwigstraße 33, D-80539 Munich, Germany

Phone: +49-(0)89-2180-2459
Fax: +49-(0)89-2180-992459
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Eaton, Jonathan & Rosen, Harvey S, 1980. "Taxation, Human Capital, and Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(4), pages 705-15, September.
  2. Christian Bjørnskov & Axel Dreher & Justina A. V. Fischer, 2006. "Cross-country determinants of life satisfaction: exploring different determinants across groups in society," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19290, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  3. Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2009. "Do Better Schools Lead to More Growth? Cognitive Skills, Economic Outcomes, and Causation," CESifo Working Paper Series 2524, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
  5. Lee, J.-W. & Barro, R.J., 1998. "Schooling Quality in a Cross Section of Countries," Papers 659, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  6. Dennis D. Kimko & Eric A. Hanushek, 2000. "Schooling, Labor-Force Quality, and the Growth of Nations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1184-1208, December.
  7. Fölster, Stefan & Henrekson, Magnus, 1998. "Growth Effects of Government Expenditure and Taxation in Rich Countries," Working Paper Series 503, Research Institute of Industrial Economics, revised 20 Jun 2000.
  8. Jacobs, Bas, 2007. "Real options and human capital investment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(6), pages 913-925, December.
  9. Agell, Jonas & Ohlsson, Henry & Thoursie, Peter Skogman, 2006. "Growth effects of government expenditure and taxation in rich countries: A comment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 211-218, January.
  10. Konrad, Kai Andreas & Spadaro, Amedeo, 2005. "Education, redistributive taxation and confidence
    [Bildung, Steuerumverteilung und Vertrauen]
    ," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Processes and Governance SP II 2005-05, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  11. Sinn, Hans-Werner, 1995. " A Theory of the Welfare State," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(4), pages 495-526, December.
  12. Ludger Wößmann, 2000. "Schooling Resources, Educational Institutions, and Student Performance: The International Evidence," Kiel Working Papers 983, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  13. Falch, Torberg & Fischer, Justina AV, 2011. "Welfare state generosity and student performance: Evidence from international student tests," MPRA Paper 35269, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  14. Christian Bjørnskov & Axel Dreher & Justina Fischer, 2007. "The bigger the better? Evidence of the effect of government size on life satisfaction around the world," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 130(3), pages 267-292, March.
  15. Poutvaara, Panu, 2007. "Social security incentives, human capital investment and mobility of labor," Munich Reprints in Economics 19804, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  16. Ponce, Juan & Bedi, Arjun S., 2008. "The Impact of a Cash Transfer Program on Cognitive Achievement: The Bono de Desarrollo Humano of Ecuador," IZA Discussion Papers 3658, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  17. Eric A. Hanushek & Javier A. Luque, 2002. "Efficiency and Equity in Schools around the World," NBER Working Papers 8949, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Levhari, David & Weiss, Yoram, 1974. "The Effect of Risk on the Investment in Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(6), pages 950-63, December.
  19. Andersson, Fredrik & Konrad, Kai A., 2003. "Human capital investment and globalization in extortionary states," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(7-8), pages 1539-1555, August.
  20. Vincent (Vincent Peter) Hogan & Ian Walker, 2006. "Education choice under uncertainty : implications for public policy," Working Papers 200615, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  21. Romero-Ávila, Diego & Strauch, Rolf, 2008. "Public finances and long-term growth in Europe: Evidence from a panel data analysis," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 172-191, March.
  22. Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 1996. "Doing It Now or Later," Discussion Papers 1172, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  23. Kneller, Richard & Bleaney, Michael F. & Gemmell, Norman, 1999. "Fiscal policy and growth: evidence from OECD countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 171-190, November.
  24. David Laibson, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-478.
  25. David Y. Albouy, 2012. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 3059-76, October.
  26. 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.
  27. Frank Fossen & Daniela Glocker, 2011. "Expected future earnings, taxation, and university enrollment," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 18(6), pages 688-723, December.
  28. Bergh, Andreas & Karlsson, Martin, 2009. "Government Size and Growth: Accounting for Economic Freedom and Globalization," Ratio Working Papers 130, The Ratio Institute.
  29. Laura B. Rawlings, 2005. "Evaluating the Impact of Conditional Cash Transfer Programs," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 20(1), pages 29-55.
  30. Jie Zhang & Junsen Zhang, 2004. "How does social security affect economic growth? Evidence from cross-country data," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 17(3), pages 473-500, 08.
  31. Isaac Ehrlich & Jinyoung Kim, 2007. "Social Security and Demographic Trends: Theory and Evidence from the International Experience," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 10(1), pages 55-77, January.
  32. Ehrlich, Isaac & Zhong, Jian-Guo, 1998. "Social Security and the Real Economy: An Inquiry into Some Neglected Issues," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 151-57, May.
  33. James J. Heckman & Lance Lochner & Christopher Taber, 1998. "Tax Policy and Human Capital Formation," NBER Working Papers 6462, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  34. Hamilton, Jonathan H, 1987. "Optimal Wage and Income Taxation with Wage Uncertainty," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 28(2), pages 373-88, June.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:35269. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Joachim Winter)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.