Distributive Decisions in Education: Goals, Trade-Offs, and Feasibility Constraints

Theory and Research in Education, 2016

25 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2017

See all articles by Kenneth Shores

Kenneth Shores

Pennsylvania State University

Susanna Loeb

Stanford University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: 2016

Abstract

Educators, policymakers, and citizens face questions of how to allocate scarce resources in the pursuit of competing goals for children and youth. Our goal in this article is to provide decision-makers with a framework for considering allocative problems in education, explicitly highlighting the implications of relevant feasibility constraints. We assume that the decision-maker cares about children’s present and future welfare and that she gives priority to children whose welfare is lower. We highlight four especially relevant constraints: scarcity of resources, buy-in from community members, high-stakes consequences of skill development, and measurement of desired outcomes. Using four cases to illustrate common situations decision-makers face, we show that the framework provides both some understanding of the distributive decisions that are made in practice and some structure for thinking about how to optimize decisions in non-ideal settings.

Keywords: distributivve justice, feasibility constraints, education

JEL Classification: I24

Suggested Citation

Shores, Kenneth and Loeb, Susanna, Distributive Decisions in Education: Goals, Trade-Offs, and Feasibility Constraints (2016). Theory and Research in Education, 2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3013630

Kenneth Shores (Contact Author)

Pennsylvania State University ( email )

Health and Human Development
University Park, PA 16802
United States
6505804655 (Phone)

Susanna Loeb

Stanford University ( email )

School of Education 402P CERAS, 520 Galvez Mall
Stanford, CA 94305
United States
650-725-4262 (Phone)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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