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Macroeconomic implications of competitive college admissions

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  • Murat F. Iyigun
  • Andrew T. Levin

Abstract

We present a public higher education model in which there exist indivisibilities in educational investment. Consequently, when demand for educational services exceed supply, a screening mechanism, which may potentially be imperfect, is required to choose the student body. We demonstrate how distortions or biases in screening--caused by parental factors--interact with the distribution of income to help explain the considerable differences across countries in the share of resources devoted to public higher education. Moderate degrees of admission bias lower the share of resources devoted to public education whereas higher levels of bias may have positive effects on public education supply. Thus, while lower screening biases lead to a better allocation of a given amount of spending on education, they do not necessarily lead to more political support for public education, and thereby to higher aggregate human capital and output. When wage rates are endogenous, the effects of screening biases on public higher education supply can be positive even for smaller biases. Moreover, higher inequality will lead to a lower share of resources devoted to public higher education when biases are relatively moderate.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series International Finance Discussion Papers with number 613.

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Date of creation: 1998
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:613

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Keywords: Education ; Income distribution;

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  1. Alesina, Alberto & Rodrik, Dani, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(2), pages 465-90, May.
  2. Fernández, Raquel, 1998. "Education and Borrowing Constraints: Tests Vs. Prices," CEPR Discussion Papers 1913, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Gradstein, Mark & Justman, Moshe, 1997. " Democratic Choice of an Education System: Implications for Growth and Income Distribution," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 169-83, July.
  4. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 2013. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Working Papers 2013-12, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  5. Glomm, Gerhard & Ravikumar, B, 1992. "Public versus Private Investment in Human Capital Endogenous Growth and Income Inequality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 818-34, August.
  6. Stiglitz, J. E., 1974. "The demand for education in public and private school systems," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 349-385, November.
  7. Roland Benabou, 1996. "Unequal Societies," NBER Working Papers 5583, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Perotti, Roberto, 1994. "Income distribution and investment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(3-4), pages 827-835, April.
  9. Fernandez, Raquel & Rogerson, Richard, 1995. "On the Political Economy of Education Subsidies," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(2), pages 249-62, April.
  10. Peltzman, Sam, 1973. "The Effect of Government Subsidies-in-Kind on Private Expenditures: The Case of Higher Education," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(1), pages 1-27, Jan.-Feb..
  11. Radner, Roy & Miller, L S, 1970. "Demand and Supply in U. S. Higher Education: A Progress Report," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(2), pages 326-34, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Iyigun, Murat F, 1999. "Public Education and Intergenerational Economic Mobility," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(3), pages 697-710, August.

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