Government Expenditure on the Public Education System

37 Pages Posted: 6 Nov 2019

See all articles by Chao Fu

Chao Fu

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Economics

Shoya Ishimaru

University of Wisconsin-Madison

John Kennan

University of Wisconsin; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: November 2019

Abstract

We investigate equilibrium impacts of federal policies such as free-college proposals, taking into account that human capital production is cumulative and that state governments have resource constraints. In the model, a state government cares about household welfare and aggregate educational attainment. Realizing that household choices vary with its decisions, the government chooses income tax rates, per-student expenditure levels on public K-12 and college education, college tuition and the provision of other public goods, subject to its budget constraint. We estimate the model using data from the U.S. Using counterfactual simulations, we find that free-public-college policies, mandatory or subsidized, would decrease state expenditure on and hence the quality of public education. More students would obtain college degrees due to increased enrollment. Over 86% of all households would lose while about 60% of the lowest income quintile would gain from such policies.

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Suggested Citation

Fu, Chao and Ishimaru, Shoya and Kennan, John, Government Expenditure on the Public Education System (November 2019). NBER Working Paper No. w26425, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3480295

Chao Fu (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Economics ( email )

Madison, WI 53706
United States

Shoya Ishimaru

University of Wisconsin-Madison ( email )

1180 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706
United States

John Kennan

University of Wisconsin ( email )

1180 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706
United States
608-262-5393 (Phone)
608-263-3876 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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