Reforming education policy and finance are at the center of intense debates at all levels of government, driven in part by the recognition of the central role that education plays in the economy. Education affects the productivity of the labor force, the distribution of income, economic growth, and individuals’ earnings and quality of life. This course uses economic principles to analyze K-12 education. The course begins with an examination of the demand for education, both by the private sector (particularly individuals) and the public sector. Next, we consider the production (including teachers as an input) and supply and cost of education. Finally, we turn to the financing of K-12 education in the United States.
The class will be run as a seminar in which we will discuss the content of the assigned readings and try to make recommendations that are empirically and theoretically justified on economic grounds for achieving high performance in elementary and secondary education.