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Government Spending on Education: Reactions to Economic Crisis

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In this paper, the authors identify the causes and analyze the governmental responses in education spending of the Latin American Crisis of the 1980s and the East Asian Crisis of the 1990s in order to gain perspective on the current recession and recovery spending in the United States. They first identify three reasons governments choose to invest in education: a dedication to education as a public good, a domestic economic necessity, and a reaction to a globalized high-skills marketplace. Cases in Latin America and East Asia are explored within this context, and parallels and distinctions are drawn between these two regions and the United States. The overall lesson learned from past economic shocks, the authors conclude, is that government spending response must prioritize education with deliberate and targeted expenditures designed for long-term social and economic returns.

Keywords: East Asia; Latin America; economics of education; education spending; financial crisis; recession

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Southern California

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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  • World Studies in Education is a bi-annual, refereed, international journal offering a global overview of significant international and comparative education research. Its focus is on educational reforms and policy affecting institutions in the global economy.

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