Public Education Expenditures, Growth and Income Inequality
63 Pages Posted: 7 Apr 2016 Last revised: 8 Feb 2023
Date Written: October 11, 2022
This paper analyzes the relationship between public education spending, long-run growth and income inequality. We propose an endogenous growth model with occupational choice and an endogenous supply of teachers and education quality. We show that endogenous school quality alters the shape of those relationships in a way that has new policy implications. First, growth depends on the level of public education expenditures and on the shape of the human capital distribution. Second, the relationship between public education and inequality can be either positive or negative. Calibrating our model to US state data, we find that a significant share of states faces a trade-off between increasing growth and decreasing inequality through public education spending. We find that this trade-off is overall more likely in states with higher public education expenditures, teacher employment share and relative wage, and intergenerational mobility. Finally, the existence of such a trade-off depends on how public education spending is financed.
Keywords: Endogenous growth, human capital, inequality, occupational choice, public education expenditures
JEL Classification: E24, I24, I25, O41, O47
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation