One hundred and fifty years ago, the 1862 Morrill Land Grant Act was signed into law.Wise people at that time recognized that the private market for education failed to produce an efficient level of education decades before the economic theory was developed to explain that market failures reduce efficiency. The purpose of this paper is to review the history of selected events that resulted in the development of publicly funded U.S. educational institutions and to issue a challenge for our profession to do a better job of educating about the theoretical justification for using tax dollars to support university education and agricultural research and the efficiency enhancing consequences of that use.


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