Cover: The Benefits to Taxpayers from Increases in Students' Educational Attainment

The Benefits to Taxpayers from Increases in Students' Educational Attainment

Published Jul 2, 2009

by Stephen J. Carroll, Emre Erkut

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Meeting the educational demands of the future will be expensive; however, in most states, public schools from kindergarten through the university level already experience budgetary challenges. Policymakers face the challenge of motivating taxpayers to provide the funds needed to meet mounting education needs. In this volume, Carroll and Erkut examine the financial benefits that taxpayers — regardless of whether they have children in school — realize from increases in educational attainment. First, investments in education benefit taxpayers because the investments produce more highly educated individuals, who tend to earn more income than those with lower levels of education and pay more in taxes, thus contributing more to programs such as Social Security. Second, more highly educated individuals are less likely to draw on social support programs, such as Medicare. And finally, more highly educated individuals are less likely to commit crimes, so increases in educational attainment reduce public spending on incarceration. Carroll and Erkut estimate the monetary value of these benefits over an individual's lifetime and how they vary as a result of education level.

The research in this report was produced within RAND Education, a unit of the RAND Corporation, with support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

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