Citizen "Trust" as an Explanation of State Education Funding to Local School Districts
Many previous studies have examined the level of state grants to local K-12 school districts. However, these studies have not considered the role of citizen "trust" in state versus local governments as a factor. We hypothesize that the role of the state in funding education reflects citizen "trust" in the relative capabilities of governments. We measure "trust" directly via public opinion polls that capture citizen attitudes about the appropriate responsibilities of state versus local governments; we also measure "trust" indirectly, by the role of state government as revealed by its relative importance in overall service provision (net of K-12 spending). We find that the state share of K-12 education spending tends to be higher when there is greater citizen trust in state versus local governments.
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