Intergenerational conflict reconsidered: County demographic structure and the demand for public education
The observation that the elderly may be less willing to support K-12 education than other voters raises the specter of decreasing support for schools as the US population ages. In this article, we examine that support using a national panel of counties over time. Building on earlier models estimated for state level data, we conclude that the direct differential effect within each county of the presence of elderly households is not distinguishable from zero but that the elderly have the potential to affect spending on education indirectly through where they live. To the extent that the elderly live in counties with low proportions of children, the tax price of education in other counties is higher which could in turn reduce financial support for education in those counties. Thus one cannot predict the impact of an increasing share of the elderly on education spending without paying attention to how the elderly are likely to be distributed among counties relative to children. © 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
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