Education Finance Reform and Investment in Human Capital: Lessons from California

40 Pages Posted: 17 Aug 2000 Last revised: 24 Sep 2010

See all articles by Raquel Fernández

Raquel Fernández

New York University - Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Richard Rogerson

Arizona State University (ASU) - Economics Department; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

Date Written: November 1995

Abstract

This paper examines the effect of different education financing systems on the level and distribution of resources devoted to public education. We focus on California, which in the 1970's moved from a system of mixed local and state financing to one of effectively pure state finance and subsequently saw its funding of public education fall between ten and fifteen percent relative to the rest of the US. We show that a simple political economy model of public finance can account for the bulk of this drop. We find that while the distribution of spending became more equal, this was mainly at the cost of a large reduction in spending in the wealthier communities with little increase for the poorer districts. Our model implies that there is no simple trade-off between equity and resources; we show that if California had moved to the opposite extreme and abolished state aid altogether, funding for public education would also have dropped by almost ten percent.

Suggested Citation

Fernández, Raquel and Rogerson, Richard, Education Finance Reform and Investment in Human Capital: Lessons from California (November 1995). NBER Working Paper No. w5369. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=225432

Raquel Fernández (Contact Author)

New York University - Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics ( email )

269 Mercer Street
New York, NY 10003
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212-998-8908 (Phone)
212-995-4186 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
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Richard Rogerson

Arizona State University (ASU) - Economics Department ( email )

Tempe, AZ 85287-3806
United States
480-727-6671 (Phone)
602-965-0748 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs ( email )

Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States

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