Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Business and Economics



First Advisor

Dr. William Hoyt


The first chapter provides an introduction to my investigation of the impact of state-level educational investments in public K-12 education on future labor markets, specifically earnings and employment. In Chapter 2, the current literature supporting this investigation is examined while I offer a hole in the literature that I intend to fill. Then, in Chapter 3 I present a two-period, balanced-budget theoretical model in which I relate educational investments, mobility, and future earnings. This theoretical model is then implemented in Chapter 4 using state-level data and again in Chapter 5 using individual-level data.

Chapter 4 examines the impact of state-level educational investments in public education on aggregate state labor markets, specifically earnings and employment. Using data on K-12 educational spending, 8th grade cognitive test scores, and educational demographics of a state’s labor force, I observe the impact these state-level investments have on employment and earnings growth. Taking interstate migration into account, I separate the benefits from educational investment into benefits due to in-state investment and benefits due to out-of-state investment. By doing so I am able to identify whether or not educational investment spillovers exist between states. Results indicate that the earnings benefits associated with public K-12 educational spending spill over into other states, 8th grade NAEP test scores do not spill over into other states, and neither has a significant impact on other states’ employment growth.

Chapter 5 examines the impact of educational investments in public education on earnings of individuals. I extend my analysis from Chapter 4 by employing micro-data (on individuals) from the American Community Survey (ACS) instead of using state-level data. Using micro-data allows me to more accurately measure the investments used in the education of an area and to incorporate where education was attained and where it was employed. Using individual-level data also allows me to narrow my focus to younger participants in the labor force, providing a stronger link between lagged educational spending and earnings. Results indicate that K-12 educational spending does spill over in the form of positive earnings benefits, which helps to support the results of Chapter 4.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)