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Education, identity, and community: lessons from Jewish emancipation

Author

Listed:
  • Jean-Paul Carvalho

    (University of California, Irvine)

  • Mark Koyama

    (George Mason University)

  • Michael Sacks

    (West Virginia University)

Abstract

Why do some minority communities take up opportunities for education while others reject them? To shed light on this, we study the impact of Jewish Emancipation in nineteenth century Europe on patterns of education. In Germany, non-religious and Reform Jews dramatically increased their rates of education. In the less developed parts of Eastern Europe, Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox communities imposed unprecedented restrictions on secular education and isolated themselves from society. Explaining this bifurcation requires a model of education that is different from the standard human capital approach. In our model, education not only confers economic benefits but also transmits values that undermine the cultural identity of minority groups. We show that it is individually rational for agents who benefit least from rising returns to education to respond by reducing their investment in education. Group-level sanctions for high levels of education piggyback upon this effect and amplify it.

Suggested Citation

  • Jean-Paul Carvalho & Mark Koyama & Michael Sacks, 2017. "Education, identity, and community: lessons from Jewish emancipation," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 171(1), pages 119-143, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:171:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11127-016-0400-1
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-016-0400-1
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    3. Lecce, Giampaolo & Ogliari, Laura & Squicciarini, Mara P., 2021. "Birth and migration of scientists: Does religiosity matter? Evidence from 19th-century France," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 187(C), pages 274-289.
    4. Choy, James P., 2020. "Religious rules as a means of strengthening family ties: Theory and evidence from the Amish," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 729-748.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Education; Cultural transmission; Human capital; Identity; Jewish history;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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