Does Money Matter?

The Effect of School Resources on Student Achievement and Adult Success

Many believe that American education can only be improved with a sizable infusion of new resources into the nation's schools. Others find little evidence that large increases in spending lead to improvements in educational performance. Do additional school resources actually make any difference?

The evidence on this question offers a striking paradox. Many analysts have found that extra school resources play a negligible role in improving student achievement while children are in school. Yet many economists have gathered data showing that students who attend well-endowed schools grow up to enjoy better job market success than children whose education takes place in schools where resources are limited. For example, children who attend schools with a lower pupil-teacher ratio and a better educated teaching staff appear to earn higher wages as adults than children who attend poorer schools.

This book, which grew out of a Brookings conference, brings together scholars from a variety of disciplines to discuss the evidence on the link between school resources and educational and economic outcomes. In a lively exchange of views, they debate whether additional spending can improve the performance of the nation's schools.

In addition to editor Gary Burtless, the contributors include Eric Hanushek, University of Rochester; James Heckman, University of Chicago; Julian Betts, University of California, San Diego; Richard Murnane, Harvard University; Larry Hedges, University of Chicago; and Christopher Jencks, Northwestern University.

Dialogues on Public Policy