This post is somewhat belated. The 8th Annual Land Policy Conference was held by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in Cambridge, MA in early June, and this year’s topic was Education, Land, and Location.
Eric Hanushek, an educational and urban economist from Stanford, was the keynote speaker where he gave an overview of research that he had conducted for the OECD that identified a economic benefit to the United States of somewhere in the range of $40-50 trillion dollars (in present terms) associated with closing the achievement gap between minority and white students in America.
The rest of the conference was made up of thorough discussions of national and international research on how land policy and education are inter-related. Presenters (and chapters in the upcoming volume) will provide a vast overview on some relatively traditional research topics – including how school quality is capitalized in home values and why people without children in schools still support taxes for education (the answer is that it supports home value and community quality according to William Fischel’s “Home-Voter Hypothesis). The conference papers also covered how newer policies like school choice and residential mobility programs affect individual outcomes in education and the labor market. While there was some disagreement on the topic, choice and mobility might contribute to further inequality – but this could be just a short term effect. There were also great papers on homeschooling, the role of segregation in educational outcomes, and how school choice affects municipal transportation costs.
I was encouraged to see urban economics, urban planning, education policy, and land policy being discussed in nuanced and innovative ways! I learned a lot at the conference and the work of the scholars at the Lincoln Conference has influenced by dissertation.