The key messages from this topic guide are:
- Education economics starts from the basis that there are returns to education that increase the wealth and well-being of the educated.
- Economists view education as a merit good, in that there are externalities or spillovers, meaning returns to education benefit others beyond the person being educated.
- Government/public sector intervention in education can be justified by these spillovers, as well as by market failures in capital markets and/or in the provision of information, which mean the market alone would provide insufficient education.
- In addition, there is a view of education as a ‘right’, which means it should be provided regardless of cost–benefit ratios.
The guide is organised into the following sections:
- Education, skills and growth
- The returns to education
- Education systems in developing nations
- Education policy, interventions, evidence
- Aid, finance and education