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Educational Policy: Egalitarian or Elitist?

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  • H. I. Grossman
  • M. Kim

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • H. I. Grossman & M. Kim, 1999. "Educational Policy: Egalitarian or Elitist?," Working Papers 365, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  • Handle: RePEc:bol:bodewp:365
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Herschel I. Grossman & Minseong Kim, 2002. "Predation, Efficiency, and Inequality," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 158(3), pages 393-393, September.
    2. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(3), pages 565-591, September.
    3. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, pages 1203-1250.
    4. 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.
    5. Grossman, Herschel I, 1994. "Production, Appropriation, and Land Reform," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 705-712, June.
    6. Dan Usher, 1997. "Education as a Deterrent to Crime," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 30(2), pages 367-384, May.
    7. 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.
    8. 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 1275-1288, December.
    9. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(3), pages 565-591, September.
    10. Usher, D, 1987. "Theft as a Paradigm for Departures from Efficiency," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 39(2), pages 235-252, June.
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    12. 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.
    13. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Duarte Nuno Leite & Óscar Afonso & Sandra Tavares Silva, 2015. "The Two Revolutions, Landed Elites and Education during the Industrial Revolution," FEP Working Papers 562, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    2. Helmuth Cremer & Philippe Donder & Pierre Pestieau, 2010. "Education and social mobility," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, pages 357-377.
    3. Thaize Challier, M.-Christine, 2010. "Socio-political conflict, social distance, and rent extraction in historical perspective," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 51-67, March.
    4. Mejia, Daniel & Posada, Carlos-Esteban, 2007. "Populist policies in the transition to democracy," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 932-953, December.
    5. Rohner, D., 2007. "From Rags to Rifles: The Economics of Deprivation, Conflict and Welfare State," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0771, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    6. Dominic Rohner, 2010. "From rags to rifles: deprivation, conflict and the welfare state," IEW - Working Papers 463, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    7. Bertocchi, Graziella & Spagat, Michael, 2004. "The evolution of modern educational systems: Technical vs. general education, distributional conflict, and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 559-582, April.
    8. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2006. "Das Human-Kapital: A Theory of the Demise of the Class Structure," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(1), pages 85-117.
    9. Grossman, Herschel I., 2005. "Inventors and pirates: creative activity and intellectual property rights," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 269-285, June.
    10. Ivan G. Lopez Cruz, 2015. "Policing, Schooling and Human Capital Accumulation," Caepr Working Papers 2015-024 Classification-D, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
    11. Hao Jin & Hewei Shen, 2016. "Foreign Asset Accumulation among Emerging Market Economies: a Case for Coordination," Caepr Working Papers 2016-001 Classification-D, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
    12. Amihai Glazer & Mark Gradstein, 2001. "Appropriation, Human Capital, and Mandatory Schooling," CESifo Working Paper Series 538, CESifo Group Munich.
    13. Boschini, Anne D., 2006. "The political economy of industrialisation," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 887-907, December.
    14. Fujii, Dmitri, 2009. "Who Wants To Be a Genius?," Panorama Económico, Escuela Superior de Economía, Instituto Politécnico Nacional, vol. 0(09), pages 7-54, segundo s.
    15. Joanna Alexopoulos & Tiago V. Cavalcanti, 2010. "Cheap home goods and persistent inequality," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 45(3), pages 417-451, December.
    16. Gonzalez, M. & Wen, W., 2007. "The Supply of Social Insurance," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0772, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.

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