While the high cost of education draws headlines, the cost of not educating America’s children goes largely ignored. The Price We Pay remedies this oversight by highlighting the private and public costs of inadequate education. In this volume, leading scholars from a broad range of fields—including economics, education, demography, and public health—attach hard numbers to the relationship between educational attainment and such critical indicators as income, health, crime, dependence on public assistance, and political participation. They explore policy interventions that could boost the education system’s performance and explain why demographic trends make the challenge of educating our youth so urgent today. Improving educational outcomes for at-risk youth is more than a noble goal. It is an investment with the potential to yield benefits that far outstrip its costs. The Price We Pay provides the tools readers need to analyze both sides of the balance sheet and make informed decisions about which policies will pay off. Contributors include Thomas Bailey (Teachers College, Columbia University), Ronald F. Ferguson (Harvard University), Irwin Garfinkel (Columbia University), Jane Junn (Rutgers University), Brendan Kelly (Columbia University), Enrico Moretti (UCLA), Peter Muennig (Columbia University), Michael Rebell (Teachers College, Columbia University), Richard Rothstein (Teachers College, Columbia University), Cecilia E. Rouse (Princeton University), Marta Tienda (Princeton University), Jane Waldfogel (Columbia University), and Tamara Wilder (Teachers College, Columbia University).
Clive R. Belfield is assistant professor of economics at Queens College of the City University of New York. His books include Privatizing Educational Choice: Consequences for Parents, Schools, and Public Policy, written with Henry M. Levin (Paradigm, 2005), and Economic Principles for Education: Theory and Evidence (Edward Elgar, 2000). Henry M. Levin is William H. Kilpatrick Professor of Economics and Education and director of the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. He is the author or editor of more than twenty books, including Cost-Effectiveness Analysis: Methods and Applications, 2d ed., coauthored with Patrick J. McEwan (Sage, 2001), and Privatizing Education: Can the Marketplace Deliver Choice, Efficiency, Equality, and Social Cohesion? (Westview, 2001).