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Education and Social Mobility

  • Helmuth Cremer
  • Philippe De Donder
  • Pierre Pestieau

This paper shows that the design of education policy involves a potential conflict between welfare and social mobility. We consider a setting in which social mobility is maximized under the least elitist public education system, whereas welfare maximization calls for the most elitist system. We show that when private education is available, the degree of elitism that maximizes social mobility increases, while the welfare-maximizing degree of elitism decreases. The ranking between the welfare- and mobility-maximizing degree of elitism may even be reversed. Utilitarian welfare is always higher when private supplementary education is available, but social mobility may be reduced.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2951.

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Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2951
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  1. Gottschalk, Peter & Spolaore, Enricco, 2002. "On the Evaluation of Economic Mobility," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(1), pages 191-208, January.
  2. Lans Bovenberg, A. & Jacobs, Bas, 2005. "Redistribution and education subsidies are Siamese twins," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2005-2035, December.
  3. repec:oup:qjecon:v:85:y:1971:i:3:p:409-15 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Daniel Mejía & Marc St-Pierre, . "Unequal Opportunities and Human Capital Formation," Borradores de Economia 415, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
  5. CREMER, Helmuth & PESTIAU, Pierre & RACIONERO, Maria, 2007. "Unequal wages for equal utilities," CORE Discussion Papers 2007095, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  6. repec:oup:restud:v:49:y:1982:i:2:p:183-201 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. A. Lans Bovenberg & Bas Jacobs, 2005. "Redistribution and Education Subsidies are Siamese Twins," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 05-036/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  8. Bruno, Michael, 1976. "Equality, complementarity and the incidence of public expenditures," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 395-407, November.
  9. Darío Maldonado, 2008. "Education policies and optimal taxation," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 131-143, April.
  10. Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2007. "The Role of School Improvement in Economic Development," CESifo Working Paper Series 1911, CESifo Group Munich.
  11. Herschel I. Grossman & Minseong Kim, 2003. "Educational Policy: Egalitarian or Elitist?," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(3), pages 225-246, November.
  12. Ulph, David, 1977. "On the optimal distribution of income and educational expenditure," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 341-356, December.
  13. repec:oup:restud:v:69:y:2002:i:2:p:437-66 is not listed on IDEAS
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