The Social Benefits of Public Education

While much is known about the economic and private returns on education, the social benefits that stem from investments in public education have received far less focus and are, in turn, less clear. For the individual, educational attainment is often linked to better health outcomes, higher lifetimes earnings, less precarious work, lower likelihood of involvement in criminal activity, as well as greater political and civic participation (i.e. voting and volunteering). At the same time, these more private gains translate into social and, in turn, fiscal gains.  For instance, a healthier population reduces the fiscal burden on public healthcare, while higher standards of living reduce demand on social assistance programs. (See Chart below).

The Private, Social, and Fiscal Gains of Education