A positive theory of government action in education

This set of three papers explains that (a) economists do not have a model that explains why governments produce schooling, (b) shows that the key feature is the difficulty in observing instruction in beliefs, and (c) shows how a simple model with governments that care about the socialization (that is, the beliefs and values that future citizens receive while being educated) and the difficulty of observing instruction in beliefs can explain all of the features that are puzzles for conventional economics of schooling.

  1. The Policy Irrelevance of the Economics of Education: Is "Normative as Positive" Useless--Or Worse? (June 2008).

    • This is is an application of the positive theory of education to the question of why the recent emphasis on "randomized evaluations" of impacts is, in and of itself, not a particularly important step forward, as the lack of knowledge of the production function is arguably not a first order constraint on improvements in education.
  2. "When Will They Ever Learn"? Why All Governments Produce Schooling

  1. The State, Socialization, and Private Schooling: When Will Governments Support Alternative Producers?