Human Capital and Predation: A Positive Theory of Educational Policy
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. An increase in a person's human capital makes predation a less attractive choice for that person. As a result, it is possible that by using some of their human capital to educate the poorly endowed people rather than to produce consumables the well endowed people can increase their own consumption. We also find that the nature of the educational policy that maximizes the consumption of the well endowed people depends on the ability of producers to enforce a collective choice of the amount of resources to be allocated to guarding against predators.
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