IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Educational Policy: Egalitarian or Elitist?

  • H. I. Grossman
  • M. Kim

This paper offers an explanation for observed differences across countries in educational policies and in resulting interpersonal distributions of human capital. We analyse a general equilibrium model in which, as a result of the apportionment of natural ability, nurturing, and publicly financed education, some people can be well endowed with human capital, whereas other people are poorly endowed with human capital. We assume that people can choose to be either producers or predators. Because an increase in a person’s human capital makes predation a less attractive choice for that person, it is possible that by using some of their human capital to educate the poorly endowed people the well endowed people can increase their own consumption. More interestingly, our theory predicts that, if producers are able to enforce a collective choice that takes advantage of the deterrent effect of allocating resources to guarding against predators, then the well endowed people prefer a relatively egalitarian educational policy that increases the human capital of all of the poorly endowed people. Such an educational policy either decreases the cost of deterring predation or makes deterrence possible. In contrast, if producers or small subsets of producers individually choose the amount of their resources to allocate to guarding, taking the ratio of predators to producers as given, then the well endowed people prefer an elitist educational policy that, if it has a redistributional component, decreases the number of poorly endowed people, thereby decreasing the number of predators, without increasing the human capital of the remaining poorly endowed people.These implications seem to be consistent with the facts about differences across countries in educational policy.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna in its series Working Papers with number 365.

in new window

Date of creation: Dec 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bol:bodewp:365
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Piazza Scaravilli, 2, and Strada Maggiore, 45, 40125 Bologna

Phone: +39 051 209 8019 and 2600
Fax: +39 051 209 8040 and 2664
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Grossman, Herschel I., 1995. "Robin hood and the redistribution of property income," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 399-410, September.
  2. Grossman, Herschel I, 1994. "Production, Appropriation, and Land Reform," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 705-12, June.
  3. José De Gregorio & Jong-Wha Lee, 1999. "Education and Income Distribution: New Evidence from Cross-country Data," Documentos de Trabajo 55, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
  4. Dan Usher, 1993. "Education as a Deterrent to Crime," Working Papers 870, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  5. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-1250.
  6. Grossman, Herschel I & Kim, Minseong, 1995. "Swords or Plowshares? A Theory of the Security of Claims to Property," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1275-88, December.
  7. Usher, D, 1987. "Theft as a Paradigm for Departures from Efficiency," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 39(2), pages 235-52, June.
  8. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(3), pages 565-91, September.
  9. Herschel I. Grossman & Minseong Kim, 2002. "Predation, Efficiency, and Inequality," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 158(3), pages 393-, September.
  10. Paolo Mauro, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712.
  11. Raquel Fernandez & Richard Rogerson, 1995. "On the Political Economy of Education Subsidies," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 62(2), pages 249-262.
  12. Grossman, Herschel I. & Kim, Minseong, 2000. "Predators, moral decay, and moral revivals," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 173-187, June.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bol:bodewp:365. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.