The Social Benefits of Education

Jere R. Behrman and Nevzer Stacey, Editors
Measures and examines benefits of education beyond economic effects


For decades, the primary argument in justifying education has been based on its direct economic effects. Yet education also provides "social benefits" for individuals and society at large, including a better way of taking care of ourselves, and consequently creating a better society to live in. Though it is difficult to quantify these social benefits, a more systematic analysis would improve our understanding of the full effects of education and provide a basis for considering related policies. The Office of Research of the United States Department of Education commissioned a series of papers on measuring these effects of education.

Those papers, revised and updated, are collected here. Kenneth J. Arrow provides perspective on education and preference formation, and Jere R. Behrman considers general conceptual and measurement issues in assessing the social benefits of education and policies related to education. These issues are taken up by experts in four fields—health, parenting, the environment, and crime. Themes addressed include measurement issues regarding what we mean by education and its benefits; basic analytical issues in assessing the impact of education on these social benefits using behavioral data; and whether the social benefits of education justify public policy interventions.

Jere R. Behrman is William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.

Nevzer G. Stacey is Senior Research Analyst, Office of Educational Research, U.S. Department of Education.

Praise / Awards

  • "Although the concept of the social benefits of education is very old in educational theory and history, this volume provides a framework for public policy interventions and their measurement."

Look Inside

The Social Benefits of Education


Contributors - vii

Chapter 1. Introduction - 1
Jere R. Behrman, David L. Crawford, and Nevzer Stacey

Chapter 2. The Benefits of Education and the Formation of Preferences - 11
Kenneth J. Arrow

Chapter 3. Conceptual and Measurement Issues - 17
Jere R. Behrman

Chapter 4. Effects of Education on Health - 69
Michael Grossman and Robert Kaestner

Chapter 5. Family Structure, Fertility, and Child Welfare - 125
Rebecca A. Maynard and Daniel J. McGrath

Chapter 6. Feedback Effects and Environmental Resources - 175
V. Kerry Smith

Chapter 7. Crime - 219
Ann Dryden Witte

Chapter 8. Conclusion - 247
Jere R. Behrman, David L. Crawford, and Nevzer Stacey

Index - 255

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 300pp.
  • 1 drawing, 15 tables.
Available for sale worldwide

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  • Hardcover
  • 1997
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-10769-8

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  • $90.00 U.S.

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