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Identity and Schooling: Some Lessons for the Economics of Education

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  • George A. Akerlof
  • Rachel E. Kranton

Abstract

This review culls noneconomic literature on education--by sociologists, anthropologists, and practitioners to present a new economic theory of students and schools. This theory elaborates two themes that have eluded economic analysis. First is the student as decision-maker whose primary motivation is her identity. Second is a conception of the school as a social institution. This framework suggests a new perspective on questions such as resource allocation and school reform. It explains why some educational policies succeed and others fail. We show how sociological variables may affect outcomes, and suggest ways economists can incorporate them into theoretical and empirical research.

Suggested Citation

  • George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2002. "Identity and Schooling: Some Lessons for the Economics of Education," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1167-1201, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jeclit:v:40:y:2002:i:4:p:1167-1201
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/002205102762203585
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1999. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1243-1284.
    2. William N. Evans & Robert M. Schwab, 1995. "Finishing High School and Starting College: Do Catholic Schools Make a Difference?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(4), pages 941-974.
    3. Roland Benabou, 1993. "Workings of a City: Location, Education, and Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(3), pages 619-652.
    4. Melissa Osborne & Herbert Gintis & Samuel Bowles, 2001. "The Determinants of Earnings: A Behavioral Approach," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1137-1176, December.
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