Education policy and inequality: A political economy approach
Regression results show that more unequal societies tend to spend comparatively more on higher levels of education. In a two-period model with heterogeneous agents, this paper investigates the political determinants of this bias. In the first period, public education is financed by the incumbent government by issuing bonds. Investments in basic and higher education have conflicting effects on future labour income distribution and net returns to these investments depend on the tax and transfers system being selected in the following period through the democratic process. Our idea is that public investment in basic education, by decreasing future labour income inequality, may induce future policy-makers to redistribute resources through financial rents taxation, thus making unfeasible the issuing of debt to finance basic education. This will be the more probable the greater wealth inequality is.
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