Date of Award

Spring 2018




Thomas Masterson, PhD


In the cases which make up the Campaign for Fiscal Equity et al. (CFE) v. The State of New York et al. the court system found that the state of New York was not fulfilling its obligation to provide all students with the opportunity to obtain a sound basic education. The state was ordered to increase funding to New York City schools by $1.93 billion. It is crucial to evaluate the effectiveness of education finance reform, especially court-order reform, as a tool for policy. This paper examines the effects of New York City primary school spending on student’s educational achievement as measured by schools’ pass rate on the 4th grade state-mandated English Language Arts and math exams in 1999, 2006 and 2014 while controlling for student demographics, school size, and teacher education and experience. It is found that increased total per pupil expenditure has effectively zero, if not somewhat negative, effect on student exam pass rates suggesting inefficiencies in school level funding. This opens doors for further research especially using disaggregated spending data.

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Open Access

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Economics Commons