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Public education and redistribution when talents are mismatched

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  • Bernasconi, Michele
  • Profeta, Paola

Abstract

In democratic countries, elected policymakers determine public spending. The level of public spending depends on taxes that are decided by a voting mechanism. Policymakers also decide how to allocate funds among different policies, such as public education and pure redistributive transfers. How are the levels of funding for public education and redistribution determined in the political process? What impacts do votes on these two policies have on inequality, growth and social mobility? We develop a politico-economic model that highlights a novel mechanism: public education provides opportunities for the children of the poor to be recognized for their talent. This reduces the probability of a mismatch, which takes place when individuals with low talent who come from rich families find jobs that should go to people with high talent (and vice versa). Hence, the poor may prefer public spending on education to direct redistribution, while the rich prefer redistribution, as education implies more competition for good jobs from the poor.

Suggested Citation

  • Bernasconi, Michele & Profeta, Paola, 2012. "Public education and redistribution when talents are mismatched," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 84-96.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:56:y:2012:i:1:p:84-96
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2011.06.001
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    Cited by:

    1. Dmitry A. Veselov, 2015. "Democratization and Barriers to Entry in a Two-Dimensional Voting Model," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 15004, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
    2. Arawatari, Ryo & Ono, Tetsuo, 2013. "Inequality, mobility and redistributive politics," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(1), pages 353-375.
    3. Tetsuo Ono, 2014. "Growth, Unemployment, and Fiscal Policy: A Political Economy Analysis," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 14-30-Rev., Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP), revised Sep 2015.
    4. Tetsuo Ono, 2014. "Economic Growth and the Politics of Intergenerational Redistribution," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 14-17-Rev., Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP), revised Sep 2015.
    5. Ono, Tetsuo & Uchida, Yuki, 2016. "Pensions, education, and growth: A positive analysis," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 127-143.
    6. Tetsuo Ono & Yuki Uchida, 2018. "Political Economy of Taxation, Debt Ceilings, and Growth," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 18-22, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).
    7. Lommerud, Kjell Erik & Straume, Odd Rune & Vagstad, Steinar, 2015. "Mommy tracks and public policy: On self-fulfilling prophecies and gender gaps in hiring and promotion," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 540-554.
    8. Yuki Uchida, 2015. "Education, Social Mobility, and Talent Mismatch," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 15-21, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).
    9. Tetsuo Ono, 2015. "Public education and social security: a political economy approach," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 1-25, February.
    10. Tetsuo Ono, 2016. "Inequality and the politics of redistribution," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 23(2), pages 191-217, April.
    11. Ryo Arawatari & Tetsuo Ono, 2011. "Old-age Social Security vs. Forward Intergenerational Public Goods Provision," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 11-26-Rev, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP), revised Apr 2012.
    12. Bellani, Luna & Fabella, Vigile Marie, 2018. "Upward Income Mobility and Legislator Support for Education Policies," IZA Discussion Papers 11324, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Tetsuo Ono, 2012. "Inequality Dynamics and the Politics of Redistribution," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 12-09-Rev, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP), revised Nov 2013.
    14. Ryo Arawatari & Tetsuo Ono, 2014. "Old-age Social Security versus Forward Intergenerational Public Goods Provision," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 65(3), pages 282-315, September.
    15. repec:spr:joecth:v:65:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s00199-016-1027-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Tetsuo Ono, 2012. "Inequality, Growth and the Politics of Education and Redistribution," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 12-09, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).
    17. Debora Di Gioacchino & Laura Sabani & Simone Tedeschi, 2016. "Differences in education systems across OECD countries: the role of education policy preferences in a hierarchical system," Working Papers 177, University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Public Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Political economy; Social mobility; Meritocracy;

    JEL classification:

    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • H10 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - General

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