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Are Public Subsidies to Higher Education Regressive?

William R. Johnson
Education Finance and Policy
Vol. 1, No. 3 (Summer 2006), pp. 288-315
Published by: The MIT Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/educfinapoli.1.3.288
Page Count: 28
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Are Public Subsidies to Higher Education Regressive?
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Abstract

Abstract This article estimates the dollar amount of public higher education subsidies received by U.S. youth and examines the distribution of subsidies and the taxes that finance them across parental and student income levels. Although youths from high-income families obtain more benefit from higher education subsidies, highincome households pay sufficiently more in taxes that the net effect of the spending and associated taxation is distributionally neutral or mildly progressive. These results are robust to alternative assumptions and are consistent with Hansen and Weisbrod's earlier celebrated findings for California, although not with the conclusions often drawn from those findings.

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