Chapter

Education as a Public Good

Saumen Chattopadhyay

in Education and Economics

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780198082255
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199082070 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198082255.003.0006
Education as a Public Good

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This chapter argues that if education is subject to economic analysis, it is imperative to classify what type of commodity education is. Different levels of education need to be classified differently. While school education is a merit good, higher education is best described as a quasi-public good. In contrast, knowledge is often classified as a global public good. Policy issues like various forms of private participation in education, extent of subsidization and funding of research, and regulation are linked to this debate on classification. However, water-tight classification is difficult as the privateness and publicness in the delivery of education is a social construct. This chapter sets the stage for an engagement in debate in the subsequent chapters.

Keywords: education; merit good; public good; quasi-public good; global public good; externalities; excludability; non-rivalry; publicness

Chapter.  10448 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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