Understanding Education and Economics explores the multiple ways in which the field of education and schooling has become closely aligned with economic imperatives and interests, and the impact of this on learning and teaching. In particular, the increasing influence of economic arguments, economic ideologies and government involvement in education have made apparent that there is a need to reflect and talk about economic influences and trends in education.

Drawing on the expertise of educationalists around the world, the book articulates key debates and theoretical perspectives which can give both students and staff across several courses within the study of education a framework for discussing and analysing how economics defines and shapes the nature and purposes of education. The chapters offer discussions and reflections on key issues, including:

  • the historical developments that led to the creation of a formal education system in England and Wales;
  • the ways in which neoliberalism underpins education, including the coercion of education to serve economic needs;
  • the economics of the university as an institution.

Addressing philosophical, sociological, historical, psychological and social issues in education and encouraging readers to pose questions about the nature of education, this book is a valuable resource for students and staff alike and will allow them to broaden perspectives on what education could be for, and what it should be for.

chapter 1|11 pages


How can we make sense of the influence of economics in education?

chapter 2|11 pages


Introducing key concepts and economics education

chapter 3|14 pages

Elementary education and child labour

From economic to ecological histories of modern childhood

chapter 4|13 pages

Authority and trust beyond neoliberalism

A critical reflection on education as useful for the economy

chapter 5|14 pages

Illusions of ‘choice’ in education

Shaping the neoliberal subject in the United Kingdom

chapter 7|13 pages

Inequalities, precariousness and education

Schooling precarious workers

chapter 8|14 pages

The economics of the university

Knowledge, the market and the state

chapter 9|11 pages

Education as a practice of freedom

Negotiating knowledges at a Pakistani women’s organisation