The Pitfalls of Regional Education Policy
We analyze whether education subsidies to students in poor areas are an effective tool of regional policy. We show that this policy can miss its objectives and actually hurt instead of help the recipient area. The reason is that geographical mobility increases with the personal skill level. Education subsidies induce individuals to invest more heavily in human capital. At the end of the education period they might have crossed some threshold level of qualification beyond which emigration to the economic center pays off. Regional policies then result in a brain drain that is harmful to those remaining in the periphery. Education subsidies are a more promising policy instrument the lower is labor mobility and the better is access to financial markets. Moreover, policymakers can avoid the potential pitfalls of this policy by focusing subsidies on low-skilled workers.
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Volume (Year): 61 (2005)
Issue (Month): 3 (November)
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