Document Type


Date of Award



Education, Finance, Costs

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Alphonse G. Holtmann

Second Advisor

Thomas G. Cowing

Third Advisor

V.K. Smith


Recent court cases, such as the California case of Serrano v. Priest, have revived interest in the question of equal educational opportunity. While The Supreme Court ruled that, in effect, education is not a right guaranteed under the Constitution and thus financing education on the basis of a local property tax is not unconstitutional, the provision of equal educational opportunity is still very much a live public issue, at least on the state level. The institution of the Fleischmann Commission in New York State to study educational financing with the mandate that "removing (educational) inequities deserves top priority" is an example of this interest.


It is the purpose of this dissertation to provide estimates of the parameters of the schooling process, within the limits of current data, by means of a statistical cost function utilizing cross-section data on New York State school districts.

This dissertation takes into account differences in socio-economic background across school districts and tests the hypothesis that students of differing socio-economic background have different production function parameters. Data used for this dissertation also make it possible to measure output in quality, rather than quantity units. The output elasticities estimated are not to be a measure of equal educational opportunity, but may be used by policy makers to determine which inputs, and how much of each, would be necessary to equalize educational output across school districts with given socio-economic characteristics.

In summary, this dissertation attempts to provide the tools necessary for educational policy makers whose objective is to change the achievement level of students by adjusting the inputs into the schooling process.