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Higher education policy, enrollment, and income inequality

Bergh, Andreas LU and Fink, Guenther (2008) In Social Science Quarterly 89(1). p.217-235
Abstract
Objective. The objective of this article is to examine whether public expenditure on higher education has an effect on income inequality by increasing enrollment. Methods. Combining data from the World Bank Development Indicators with data from the World Income Inequality Database version 2, we study the relation between government education expenditure and enrollment rates, as well as the relation between government education expenditure and the change in income inequality during the 1980s and the 1990s. Results. We find that public expenditure on higher education has no positive effect on enrollment. Increased enrollment is mainly explained by higher GDP per capita. Using carefully selected Gini coefficients to ensure comparability over... (More)
Objective. The objective of this article is to examine whether public expenditure on higher education has an effect on income inequality by increasing enrollment. Methods. Combining data from the World Bank Development Indicators with data from the World Income Inequality Database version 2, we study the relation between government education expenditure and enrollment rates, as well as the relation between government education expenditure and the change in income inequality during the 1980s and the 1990s. Results. We find that public expenditure on higher education has no positive effect on enrollment. Increased enrollment is mainly explained by higher GDP per capita. Using carefully selected Gini coefficients to ensure comparability over time, we do not find a robust relation between higher education expenditure and lower income inequality, contrary to some previous studies. Conclusions. Government expenditure on higher education has very limited effects on enrollment and inequality. This finding, however, does not imply that there are no social benefits from such subsidies. For example, in countries where high marginal tax rates decrease the economic returns to education, governments may wish to compensate for this through subsidies. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Social Science Quarterly
volume
89
issue
1
pages
217 - 235
publisher
Wiley-Blackwell
external identifiers
  • wos:000252497200012
  • scopus:38549091597
ISSN
1540-6237
DOI
10.1111/j.1540-6237.2008.00529.x
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
40b67b31-4d43-435a-a1aa-79fb2eb301e1 (old id 1199233)
date added to LUP
2008-09-11 11:03:07
date last changed
2017-08-13 03:40:19
@article{40b67b31-4d43-435a-a1aa-79fb2eb301e1,
  abstract     = {Objective. The objective of this article is to examine whether public expenditure on higher education has an effect on income inequality by increasing enrollment. Methods. Combining data from the World Bank Development Indicators with data from the World Income Inequality Database version 2, we study the relation between government education expenditure and enrollment rates, as well as the relation between government education expenditure and the change in income inequality during the 1980s and the 1990s. Results. We find that public expenditure on higher education has no positive effect on enrollment. Increased enrollment is mainly explained by higher GDP per capita. Using carefully selected Gini coefficients to ensure comparability over time, we do not find a robust relation between higher education expenditure and lower income inequality, contrary to some previous studies. Conclusions. Government expenditure on higher education has very limited effects on enrollment and inequality. This finding, however, does not imply that there are no social benefits from such subsidies. For example, in countries where high marginal tax rates decrease the economic returns to education, governments may wish to compensate for this through subsidies.},
  author       = {Bergh, Andreas and Fink, Guenther},
  issn         = {1540-6237},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {217--235},
  publisher    = {Wiley-Blackwell},
  series       = {Social Science Quarterly},
  title        = {Higher education policy, enrollment, and income inequality},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-6237.2008.00529.x},
  volume       = {89},
  year         = {2008},
}