William Duncombe, Professor of Public Administration, and John Yinger, Trustee Professor of Economics and Public Administration, recently coauthored two articles about education finance. In a special issue of the Peabody Journal of Education,which they co-edited, their article, “Are Education Cost Functions Ready for Prime Time? An Examination of Their Validity and Reliability,” discusses how school districts estimate the cost of meeting state government-mandated performance standards, known as “costing out.” They argue that cost functions are the best available methodology for achieving this goal.
In an article for International Tax and Public Finance, “Making Do: State Constraints and Local Responses in California’s Education Finance System,” Duncombe and Yinger discuss the incentives this system creates for local voters and school officials and they estimate the impact of these incentives on education costs, school district efficiency, and the demand for student performance. They conclude, among other things, that overall, California’s education finance system is not well designed to meet its educational objectives.