The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
While public education is often intended to be progressive in its effects on income distribution, in reality its incidence is often skewed toward the rich. This paper argues that the extent of this bias is directly related to institutional weaknesses in governance. We present a simple dynamic model where weak governing institutions allow the rich to be more effective in appropriating a larger share of public education spending thereby preventing inequality reduction. The empirical part provides tentative support for this view, showing that the progressiveness of public education spending is related to the strength of governance.