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The evolution of modern educational systems: Technical vs. general education, distributional conflict, and growth

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  • Bertocchi, Graziella
  • Spagat, Michael

Abstract

We study the evolution of an educational system which is founded on a hierarchical differentiation between technical and general education, with a superior social status attached to general. The resulting dynamic political equilibrium is best summarized by the ratio of vocational to general education, which we interpret as a measure of the degree of stratification of the educational system. We show that this ratio first rises and then declines with the level of development, displaying an inverted U-shape which reflects the complex interaction between economic and political forces, including aggregate income growth, wealth inequality and political participation. We predict that developing countries will tend to overinvest in vocational education at the expense of general.
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  • Bertocchi, Graziella & Spagat, Michael, 2004. "The evolution of modern educational systems: Technical vs. general education, distributional conflict, and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 559-582, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:73:y:2004:i:2:p:559-582
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    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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