Year of Graduation


Level of Access

Open Access Thesis

Embargo Period


Department or Program


First Advisor

Matthew Botsch


Income inequality and intergenerational mobility are two common measures of economic fairness in society. While they measure distinct ideas, they are significantly related in an inverse way across countries as well as across regions in the United States. This relationship is illustrated on the Great Gatsby Curve. Unequal access to education is one factor that has been found to drive the negative relationship between these two measures and therefore create the negatively sloping Great Gatsby Curve. Therefore, creating more equal access to education, such as through government spending, could lessen the connection between these two factors. The primary purpose of this research is to explore the effect of public educational expenditure on intergenerational mobility as well as on the slope of the Great Gatsby Curve. At the primary/secondary education level, this study finds that places with higher public spending on education tend to have higher levels of intergenerational mobility. However, no significant relationship is found between spending on tertiary education and intergenerational mobility. In addition, while higher primary/secondary educational spending is associated with a flatter Great Gatsby Curve at the school district level, these results were not consistent at the commuting zone level, so no strong conclusions can be made about the effect of public educational expenditures as a mediating factor of the Great Gatsby Curve.