Employing needs-based funding formulae – some unavoidable tradeoffs

Tal Gilead, Iris BenDavid-Hadar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The method by which the state allocates resources to its schooling system can serve as an important instrument for achieving desired improvements in levels of educational attainment, social equity and other social policy goals. In many school systems, the allocation of school resources is done according to a needs-based funding formula. The purpose of this paper is to provide a deeper understanding of some significant tradeoffs involved in employing needs-based funding formulae. Design/methodology/approach: The paper is based on theoretical investigations of normative aspects involved in using needs-based funding formulae. Findings: There are a number of underexplored complications and difficulties that arise from the use of needs-based funding formulae. Dealing with these involves significant tradeoffs that require taking normative decisions. Understanding these tradeoffs is important for improving the use of needs-based funding formulae. Originality/value: The paper highlights three under-examined issues that emerge from the current use of needs-based funding formulae. These issues are: to what extent funding formulae should be responsive to social and economic needs? To what extent should funding formulae allow for the use of discretion in resource allocation? To what degree needs-based formulae funding should be linked to outcomes? By discussing these issues and the tradeoffs involved in them, the paper provides a deeper understanding of significant aspects stemming from the use of needs-based funding formulae. This, in turn, can serve as a basis for an improved and better informed process for decision making regarding the use of funding formulae.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1092-1102
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Educational Management
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, © Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • Equity
  • Funding formulae
  • Needs based
  • Policy
  • Resource allocation


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