<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

The fact that increased financial resources have not brought greater measurable gains in student performance has led some education experts to question whether the problems may be due to structure, not just to the resources spent.

Other government programs seek to increase human capital either before or after the K–12 education system. Programs for early childhood education, like the federal Head Start program    , are directed at families where the parents may have limited educational and financial resources. Government also offers substantial support for universities and colleges. For example, in the United States about 60% of students take at least a few college or university classes beyond the high school level. In Germany and Japan, about half of all students take classes beyond the comparable high school level. In the countries of Latin America, only about one student in four takes classes beyond the high school level, and in the nations of sub-Saharan Africa, only about one student in 20.

Not all spending on educational human capital    needs to happen through the government: many college students in the United States pay a substantial share of the cost of their education. If low-income countries of the world are going to experience a widespread increase in their education levels for grade-school children, government spending seems likely to play a substantial role. For the U.S. economy, and for other high-income countries, the primary focus at this time is more on how to get a bigger return from existing spending on education and how to improve the performance of the average high school graduate, rather than dramatic increases in education spending.

How fiscal policy can improve technology

Research and development (R&D) efforts are the lifeblood of new technology. According to the National Science Foundation, federal outlays for research, development, and physical plant improvements to various governmental agencies have remained at an average of 8.8% of GDP. About one-fifth of U.S. R&D spending goes to defense and space-oriented research. Although defense-oriented R&D spending may sometimes produce consumer-oriented spinoffs, R&D that is aimed at producing new weapons is less likely to benefit the civilian economy than direct civilian R&D spending.

Fiscal policy can encourage R&D using either direct spending or tax policy. Government could spend more on the R&D that is carried out in government laboratories, as well as expanding federal R&D grants to universities and colleges, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector. By 2014, the federal share of R&D outlays totaled $135.5 billion, or about 4% of the federal government's total budget outlays, according to data from the National Science Foundation. Fiscal policy can also support R&D through tax incentives, which allow firms to reduce their tax bill as they increase spending on research and development.

Summary of fiscal policy, investment, and economic growth

Investment in physical capital, human capital, and new technology is essential for long-term economic growth, as summarized in [link] . In a market-oriented economy, private firms will undertake most of the investment in physical capital, and fiscal policy should seek to avoid a long series of outsized budget deficits that might crowd out such investment. The effects of many growth-oriented policies will be seen very gradually over time, as students are better educated, physical capital investments are made, and new technologies are invented and implemented.

Investment role of public and private sector in a market economy
Physical Capital Human Capital New Technology
Private Sector New investment in property and equipment On-the-job training Research and development
Public Sector Public infrastructure Public education Job training Research and development encouraged through private sector incentives and direct spending.

Key concepts and summary

Economic growth comes from a combination of investment in physical capital, human capital, and technology. Government borrowing can crowd out private sector investment in physical capital, but fiscal policy can also increase investment in publicly owned physical capital, human capital (education), and research and development. Possible methods for improving education and society’s investment in human capital include spending more money on teachers and other educational resources, and reorganizing the education system to provide greater incentives for success. Methods for increasing research and development spending to generate new technology include direct government spending on R&D and tax incentives for businesses to conduct additional R&D.


During the most recent recession, some economists argued that the change in the interest rates that comes about due to deficit spending implied in the demand and supply of financial capital graph would not occur. A simple reason was that the government was stepping in to invest when private firms were not. Using a graph, explain how the deficit demand is offset by the use by government in investment.

Got questions? Get instant answers now!


U.S. Department of Commerce: Bureau of Economic Analysis. “National Data: National Income and Product Accounts Tables.” Accessed December 1, 2013. http://www.bea.gov/iTable/iTable.cfm?ReqID=9&step=1#reqid=9&step=3&isuri=1&910=X&911=0&903=146&904=2008&905=2013&906=A.

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, “Selected Interest Rates (Daily) – H.15.” Accessed December 10, 2013. http://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/h15/data.htm.

The White House. “Fiscal Year 2013 Historical Tables: Budget of the U.S. Government.” Accessed December 12, 2013. http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2013/assets/hist.pdf.

The National Science Foundation. Accessed December 19, 2013. http://www.nsf.gov/.

Questions & Answers

Which of the following are assets of the Federal Reserve? a. Treasury bills held by the Federal Reserve b. cash in circulation c. Loans made by commercial banks d. the reserves of commercial banks at the Federal Reserve
Julya Reply
what are the four functions served by money
Michele Reply
It serves as a medium of exchange
It serves as a store of value
It serves as a unit of account
It also serves as a standard for Differed Payment.
Acts as a measure of value.
Hey, I am a new member.
can anyone tell me that why in the income and consumption curve the income is on x axis?
bechar Reply
why inflation in double digit is not good for economy
Obaid Reply
what is mean by zero inflation
some time it is good but some time it is not...
the condition of that economy tell you. is it good are bad?
the definition of the law of demand
Aley Reply
law of damand states all else remains constant or what we can say is ceteris peribus,quantity demanded for a commodity extends with fall in price and vice versa. law of demand explains inverse relationship between price and qua ntity demanded
What is demand and supply
Antwi Reply
what is gdp per capital and why it is used for?
Era Reply
gross domestic product
gdp per capita is the gross domestic product per person (GDP/population) and is a better indicator of economic health and living standards than GDP alone.
thank you so much 😘
please explain shift in production possibility curve
advances in technology can cause a shift in the ppf because output can increase with use of the same amount of resources (laborers can produce more efficiently, and suppliers are willing to sell more)
but equally natural shocks ie earthquakes or war can move the ppf inward so reducing production capicity
what is crowding out effect?
Sera Reply
What to read the introduction
prince Reply
Keynesian theory of employment
sainlangki Reply
it's about use of Fiscal policy.
yar what actually means of APc. averge means?. can someone give a best example plz
Asrar Reply
APC is average propensity to consume n this refers to ratio of consumption expenditure to corresponding level of income
then it means both MPC and ApC are same ?
No..... APC is average propensity to consume whereas MPC is marginal propensity to consume
which model predicted a global collapse in the world's social and economic system before the year 2010
Francis Reply
trade deficit
is trade deficit the correct answer?
what is the formula of mixed income ?
Sanjum Reply
labor force in.Nigeria is seen as .......?
Aisha Reply
Is demand the same as being in need of a product?
Aphiwe Reply
Demand is defer from only need of products
need is the primary and main root of demand. but demand is the result of combination of need; income capacity and desire to expend of money for that product.
products or services

Get the best Macroeconomics course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, Macroeconomics. OpenStax CNX. Jun 16, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11626/1.10
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Macroeconomics' conversation and receive update notifications?