This paper applies a political economy approach to the study of the endogenous determination of the size and composition of a public education budget. In this model, there are two education stages: the first is compulsory, while advanced education is optional. Parents decide on the education policy by a majority vote, children attend schools and then decide whether to get advanced education. This paper shows that even in a simple scenario where only public education is available, children's college-attendance decisions may lead the single-crossing condition to fail, which indicates that a majority voting equilibrium may not exist. In a scenario where individuals can opt for private education services, the model provides necessary and sufficient conditions for an equilibrium of the "ends-against-the-middle" type, where the poor are decisive. An implication of this result is that the opting-out feature of education may improve the welfare of the poor.
The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy (BEJEAP) is an international forum for scholarship that employs microeconomics to analyze issues in business, consumer behavior and public policy. Topics include the interaction of firms, the functioning of markets, the effects of domestic and international policy and the design of organizations and institutions.