Skip navigation
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: School Finance Reform, the Distribution of School Spending, and the Distribution of SAT Scores
Authors: Payne, Abigail A.
Card, David
Keywords: school financing
test scores
Issue Date: 1-Jul-1997
Series/Report no.: Working Papers (Princeton University. Industrial Relations Section) ; 387
Abstract: In this paper we study the effects of school finance reforms on the distribution of school spending across richer and poorer districts, and the consequences of spending equalization for the distribution of SAT scores across children from different family backgrounds. We use school district data from the 1977 and 1992 Censuses of Governments to measure the correlation between state funding per pupil and median family income in each district. We find that states where the school finance system was declared unconstitutional in the 1980s increased the relative funding of low-income districts. Increases in state funds available to poorer districts led to comparable or only slightly smaller increases in the relative spending of these districts, implying significant equalization of expenditures per pupil across richer and poorer districts. Using micro samples of SAT scores from this same period, we study the effect of changes in spending inequality within states on the gaps in test scores for children from different family backgrounds. We develop a two-sample procedure to estimate the fraction of students from each background group who write the test, and use these fractions to adjust for selectivity biases in observed test score outcomes. We find some evidence that the equalization of spending across districts leads to a narrowing of test score outcomes across family background groups.
Appears in Collections:IRS Working Papers

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
387.pdf4.47 MBAdobe PDFView/Download

Items in Dataspace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.