REDISTRIBUTIVE ASPECTS ASSOCIATED TO PUBLIC FINANCING OF EDUCATION.

Author:Ciurlau, Cristian Florin
Position::Report
 
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  1. Introduction

    The decisions concerning the supply and demand of educational services, as rational value judgments, are based on a system of indicators or economic factors, but, also, on a mix of political factors, because the public education is, as a last resort, a resultant of political process of decision. The political process is customized by the fact that the power of decision belongs to other individuals than the main consumers and suppliers of specific goods and services (of resources), but also by a particular delimitation between the direct beneficiaries and providers of those services, unlike the usual situation of a market in which the producers and the consumers decide simultaneously and directly over the transactions that they want to accomplish.

    Public funding of education is justified, by the policymakers, through external revenues that it generates, but the politicians should refer into this equation to the beneficiaries of public education. Rationale for public education expenditures should include, among other, the redistributive consequences of these too. The most obvious is the redistribution of adult resources in favor of the children and the young--such redistribution has an intergenerational character. Public education produces, thought, redistributive effects, too, with intergenerational character (for instance, the transfer of resources from families without children or with children who have not reached school age or are enrolled at private educational institutions to families whose children attend public schools, because all the state citizens, which satisfy certain conditions, pay taxes or fees for schools/public education support.

    The methods used for the establishment and allocation of public funds for educations are designed in such a way that respond the necessity for reduction the inequalities in revenue. In this regard, there are identified different attitudes in the preoccupation of governments of using education to ensure the manifestation of fairness principle or for the affirmation of the principle of equality. The education planners thought, in the 1960s and 1970s that public school can be an instrument for economic and social increasing mobility, and this based on the assumption that the access of poor categories to public education can contribute to reducing of poverty by redistributing revenues. In the 1980s, this persuasion began to lose ground in the face of arguments that education, in general, can generate an increase in inequality in the distribution of revenues.

    According to some studies or empirical analysis, equal training (education) opportunities was not accompanied by a proportional equalization of social opportunities, respectively by an increase in social mobility. For example, obligatory formal education was established to offer all citizens a minimum educational capital. Some individuals benefit more their education than others, either because of the chance that the school attended offers them, either by their own efforts--they accumulate more educational capital than their contemporaries. Further differentiation in revenue reflects the differences in educational capital gained from the early stages of the education system.

  2. Redistribution and the Middle Elector in Education

    The main problem that appears in a democratic state regards the redistribution, because it is of major importance--this is why, promoted public policies should aim to solve it. Normative theories of redistribution propose a mechanism based on the principle of unanimity--individuals that are considered to ignore their future position in society, unanimously accept a formula for redistributing.

    If individuals choose for redistributive programs due to uncertainty of their future position, it means that they, basically, buy their safety. The normative theories consider that the individual performs an ethic act through imposing uncertainty regarding the future situation. Thus, social insurance programs, for instance, can be the result of an ethical behavior, of a selfish behavior or of a combination of both types of behaviors (Rawls, 1971; Harsanyi, 1976, 1977, 1983; Harsanyi & Reinhard, 1988; Buchanan & Gordon, 1959).

    According to John Rawls's theory, for example, this formula ensures maximization of the requirements of primary goods of the most disadvantaged individual from society. The positive theories of the redistribution argue that policies intended to it are decided by the rule of majority, the right to vote belonging to the beneficiaries, too. One of the main problems refers to forecasting the result, whatever the motive which guided the voters (ethics or selfish). The redistribution may result in any outcome because it is a zero-sum game.

    In a hypothetical analysis in geometrical terms, each individual or group of individuals can be considered as a separate vector, and the result will have as many dimensions as voters or groups of voters participate in the process. In the same time, any majority coalition is vulnerable to the formation of another majority coalition. The approaches that explain the redistribution as a result of selfish individuals vote differ from the point of transfers direction and dynamics of redistribution. Redistribution models based on the influence of interest groups are inadequate realistic projections on the shape and direction of redistribution policies--these vary from country to country and from one period to another within the same country.

    The aspect that is of particular interest refers to the possibility and the necessity capacity estimating of a public education funding system to influence the distribution of wealth in society and redistributive impact assessment of public financing of education, more precisely the extent to which wealth transfers associated with public monopoly in education is achieved, significantly, from the upper revenues classes to the lower revenues classes. The identified conclusions can constitute criteria on which the public decision-making system is grounded on in terms of redistribution of impact and direction made with the aid of public expenses. For this, the substantiation, elaboration...

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