University education fees, economic rents and distributive justice

Lamont, Julian (2014) University education fees, economic rents and distributive justice. Journal of Applied Philosophy, 31 3: 287-306. doi:10.1111/japp.12061

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Author Lamont, Julian
Title University education fees, economic rents and distributive justice
Journal name Journal of Applied Philosophy   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0264-3758
Publication date 2014-03-17
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/japp.12061
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 31
Issue 3
Start page 287
End page 306
Total pages 20
Place of publication Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell
Language eng
Abstract In this article I defend the claim that subsidies for university education should be substantially reduced. The normative justification for this conclusion derives from a theory of distributive justice called the Compensation Theory of Income Justice, which is most easily understood as a normative version of the positive economic theory of compensating differentials. Relying on the distinction between incentives and economic rents, and after considering two 'received opinions' about why large income differentials exist in modern societies, I note that substantial portions of above-average incomes are likely to be artificial monopoly rents, rather than incentives or natural monopoly rents. Under the Compensation Theory of Income Justice the earning of artificial monopoly rents is not justified. Since subsidisation of university education fees increases lifetime artificial rents, the theory would recommend such subsidies be substantially reduced. I defend this conclusion against objections, the most notable of which is the view that university subsidies help to improve equality of opportunity to university education. I explain how it is possible to maintain the laudable aim of providing equality of opportunity while reducing the subsidisation and, as a consequence, the lifetime artificial rents.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry
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Created: Thu, 15 May 2014, 20:04:47 EST by Lucy O'Brien on behalf of School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry