Normative Economics of Education Distribution: Equity-Efficiency Trade-off

  • D. V. KislitsynEmail author
  • E. Yu. Popova
Conference paper
Part of the Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies book series (SIST, volume 139)


The paper deals with normative economics of education distribution. Traditionally, education is considered under positive economics of externalities, the presence of which leads to underproduction of educational services in comparison with socially optimal amount. However, the normative aspect of education distribution is also important. The distribution of education according to wiliness to pay principle leads to the consolidation of social inequality, therefore significant share of educational services is distributed through non-market mechanisms. The paper is devoted to the analysis of these mechanisms. It is shown that with the non-market distribution of educational services society may be willing to sacrifice some degree of efficiency in maximizing aggregate returns to education gains in exchange for a distribution that is perceived to be more fair; this is known as the ‘equity-efficiency trade-off’. Distribution of educational services on a meritocratic principle, which maximizes the aggregate returns to education, leads more affluent students receive more educational assets.


Education distribution Equity-efficiency trade-off Normative economics 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kemerovo State UniversityKemerovoRussia

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