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The Impact of Political Party Control on Education Finance and Outcomes: Evidence from U.S. States

Given states’ balanced budget requirements, investment decisions often involve trade-offs between policymakers’ budget priorities. Does political party control affect investment decisions and outcomes? Using a regression discontinuity design based on close state elections between 1984-2013, we find that marginally Democratic legislatures spend more on higher education but less on K-12 education. Rather than trading off within the education budget, policymakers trade education and welfare, particularly in liberal and high-poverty states. Increases in local revenue offset party differences in K-12 spending, suggesting that policymakers make trade-offs by considering the availability of external budget sources and how investments respond to constituents’ needs. (JEL I22, I28, H72, H75)

Education level
Document Object Identifier (DOI)
10.26300/kvw2-5725

EdWorkingPaper suggested citation:

Chin, Mark J., and Lena Shi. (). The Impact of Political Party Control on Education Finance and Outcomes: Evidence from U.S. States. (EdWorkingPaper: -280). Retrieved from Annenberg Institute at Brown University: https://doi.org/10.26300/kvw2-5725

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