This undergraduate-level course provides a foundation of knowledge for the economics of the public sector. Then the course examines economic models to explain real world government policymaking with a specific focus on education policy.
In this course, we first provide a foundation of knowledge for the economics of education. Then we will focus on the following six guiding questions:
- Should public funds be used to subsidize investments in education?
- To what extent do school leaders optimally allocate public funds?
- How do public schools receive their funding?
- Does money matter for educational outcomes?
- What are the economic arguments for school choice?
- What is the impact of teacher pay policies on teacher labor markets?
- Engage in discussions about current events related to the public financing of education
- Understand economists’ perspectives on education policy and public finance
- Connect economic models, theories, and ideas with frameworks from other disciplines
- Be a critical consumer of education research
Skills and Knowledge
- Understand how education markets differ from competitive markets
- Explain and compute present discounted value when examining investment decisions in education
- Use budget constraints to model resource allocation decisions
- Illustrate and explain cost minimization using isoquants and budget constraints
- Illustrate and explain utility maximization using indifference curves and budget constraints
- Explain how local, state, and federal funding impact education finance
- Illustrate and explain parental decision making in the presence of school choice
- Describe the impact of a salary schedule on the teacher labor market
Download the syllabus.