Education is a vital component of any economy, which is why the large education quality disparities present in the United States are problematic. This paper seeks to employ theory, previous research, as well as empirical work to understand the causes of this disparity so that more effective policies may be implemented to correct it. The theoretical analysis herein determines the characteristics of education as a good, determining that it is both a partially-public good as well as a merit good. The rest of the theoretical analysis is examined within this framework. This empirical study seeks to determine the factors that influence education quality by using data from the 2009-2010 school year in California and the state’s Academic Performance Index (API) as a proxy for educational quality. It becomes evident that the majority of the factors that influence educational quality are student and parent characteristics and not those of the educational system itself.


Burnell, Barbara




Public Economics

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2014 Emma Fryd