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Education for the masses? The interaction between wealth, educational and political inequalities

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  • Francisco H.G. Ferreira

Abstract

This paper presents a simple model of distribution dynamics, in which the distributions of wealth, education and political power are circularly endogenous. Different levels of education translate into different income and wealth levels. Political power may (or may not) vary with wealth, and in turn affects decisions on the level of public expenditure on education. Since the market for education credit is imperfect, some people might need to rely on public schooling, the quality of which depends on those expenditure levels. As a result, educational opportunities differ along the wealth distribution. The dynamic system displays multiple equilibria, some of which are characterized by a vicious circle of interaction between educational, wealth and political inequalities. These particular equilibria, which are more unequal, are also shown to be inefficient in terms of aggregate output levels. Switching equilibria may be achieved through redistribution of political power. JEL classification: D31, D63.

Suggested Citation

  • Francisco H.G. Ferreira, 2001. "Education for the masses? The interaction between wealth, educational and political inequalities," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 9(2), pages 533-552, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:etrans:v:9:y:2001:i:2:p:533-552
    DOI: 10.1111/1468-0351.00087
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    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-0351.00087
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    Cited by:

    1. François Bourguignon & Francisco Ferreira & Phillippe Leite, 2008. "Beyond Oaxaca–Blinder: Accounting for differences in household income distributions," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 6(2), pages 117-148, June.
    2. Ferreira, Francisco H. G. & Lakner, Christoph & Lugo, Maria Ana & Ozler, Berk, 2014. "Inequality of opportunity and economic growth : a cross-country analysis," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6915, The World Bank.
    3. Mejia, Daniel & Posada, Carlos-Esteban, 2007. "Populist policies in the transition to democracy," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 932-953, December.
    4. Gradstein, Mark, 2003. "The political economy of public spending on education, inequality, and growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3162, The World Bank.
    5. Francisco H. G. Ferreira & Vito Peragine, 2015. "Equality of opportunity: Theory and evidence," Working Papers 359, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    6. Petra Sauer & Martin Zagler, 2014. "(In)equality in Education and Economic Development," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(S2), pages 353-379, November.
    7. Campante, Filipe R. & Ferreira, Francisco H.G., 2007. "Inefficient lobbying, populism and oligarchy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(5-6), pages 993-1021, June.
    8. Catalina Gutiérrez & Ryuichi Tanaka, 2009. "Inequality and education decisions in developing countries," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 7(1), pages 55-81, March.
    9. Ferreira, Francisco H. G. & Walton, Michael, 2006. "Inequality of opportunity and economic development," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3816, The World Bank.
    10. Mejia, Daniel & St-Pierre, Marc, 2008. "Unequal opportunities and human capital formation," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 395-413, June.
    11. Song, Yang & Zhou, Guangsu, 2019. "Inequality of opportunity and household education expenditures: Evidence from panel data in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 85-98.
    12. Brunori, Paolo & Ferreira, Francisco H. G. & Peragine, Vito, 2013. "Inequality of opportunity, income inequality and economic mobility : some international comparisons," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6304, The World Bank.
    13. Yosr Abid & Cathal O'Donoghue & Denisa Sologon, 2016. "Exploring the Determinants of Welfare Distribution in Tunisia and Egypt Using a Welfare Generation Model," Working Papers 1009, Economic Research Forum, revised Jun 2016.
    14. Ângela Albernaz & Francisco H. G. Ferreira & Creso Franco, 2002. "Qualidade e eqüidade na educação fundamental brasileira," Textos para discussão 455, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil).
    15. Hadia Majid & Rashid Memon, 2019. "Patronage and Public Goods Provisioning in an Unequal Land," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 145(3), pages 805-830, October.
    16. Ferreira , Francisco H. G., 2010. "Distributions in motion: economic growth, inequality, and poverty dynamics," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5424, The World Bank.
    17. Molina, Ezequiel & Narayan, Ambar & Saavedra-Chanduvi, Jaime, 2013. "Outcomes, opportunity and development : why unequal opportunities and not outcomes hinder economic development," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6735, The World Bank.
    18. Marrero, Gustavo A. & Rodríguez, Juan G., 2013. "Inequality of opportunity and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 107-122.
    19. Mejia, Daniel & St-Pierre, Marc, 2008. "Unequal opportunities and human capital formation," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 395-413, June.
    20. François Bourguignon & Francisco Ferreira & Michael Walton, 2007. "Equity, efficiency and inequality traps: A research agenda," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 5(2), pages 235-256, August.
    21. Mark Gradstein & Era Dabla-Norris, 2004. "The Distributional Bias of Public Education; Causes and Consequences," IMF Working Papers 04/214, International Monetary Fund.
    22. Vincenzo Prete & Claudio Zoli, 2019. "The political economy of educational policies and inequality of opportunity," Working Papers 2019:14, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
    23. Araujo, M. Caridad & Ferreira, Francisco H.G. & Lanjouw, Peter & Özler, Berk, 2008. "Local inequality and project choice: Theory and evidence from Ecuador," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1022-1046, June.
    24. Zhang, Lei, 2008. "Political economy of income distribution dynamics," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 119-139, August.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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