Handbook of Contemporary Education Economics
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Handbook of Contemporary Education Economics

Edited by Geraint Johnes, Jill Johnes, Tommaso Agasisti and Laura López-Torres

This Handbook provides a comprehensive overview of the modern economics of education literature, bringing together a series of original contributions by globally renowned experts in their fields. Covering a wide variety of topics, each chapter assesses the most recent research with an emphasis on skills, evaluation and data analytics.
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Chapter 16: Funding post-compulsory education

Nicholas Barr

Abstract

The chapter sets out a strategy for financing post-compulsory education in pursuit of quality (better), access (wider) and size (large enough to meet growing demand for skills) particularly relevant for European countries facing fiscal constraints and mostly with only limited mechanisms for cost sharing, and the USA, which has a badly designed system. The chapter sets out a series of principles including cost-sharing, insurance, fiscal parsimony of loan design and a continuing role for government. Subsequent discussion explains some common analytical errors. The policy core of the chapter is a strategy with four elements (a) tuition fees as a complement to taxpayer finance; (b) regulation, including robust quality assurance; (c) income-contingent loans to help students address credit constraints and (d) policies to address impediments to participation that arise earlier in the system. Evidence from reforms in England in 2006 provides empirical support for the strategy. A concluding section maps out some unfinished business.

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