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2021 Journal of Education Finance Special Issue

special issue 2021

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This special issue of the Journal of Education Finance presents new, original research on the external social benefits of higher education. The external benefits of higher education are the public, or social, benefits that flow to others including future generations. These are distinguished from private benefits such as individual earnings or individual health that benefit both the college graduate and his or her family. We are excited to present this new research especially because external social benefits provide the main rationale for public support of education at all levels, including higher education. They are also important because they are known to be central to total factor productivity and economic growth (based on modern endogenous growth theory and research). In addition, they are central to per capita development (which includes the non-monetary benefits of higher education beyond earnings). External benefits of higher education, therefore, are vital to development and the well-being of individuals, communities, and nations.

The theme of this special issue is that education, and especially higher education externalities, are central to economically efficient rates of per capita development and therefore crucial to the well-being of an educated society. These external social benefits depend on public funding. This means that education finance, and especially the funding of higher education, profoundly matters.

—This special issue was supported by the Forum on the Future of Public Education at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with funds from the Richard E. and Ann M. O'Leary Endowment. It is dedicated to the memory of Edwin J. O'Leary—

For over three decades the Journal of Education Finance has been recognized as one of the leading journals in the field of the financing of public schools. Each issue brings original research and analysis on issues such as educational fiscal reform, judicial intervention in finance, adequacy, and equity of public school funding, school/social agency linkages, taxation, factors affecting employment and salaries, and the economics of human capital development.