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Education and social mobility

  • CREMER, Helmuth
  • DE DONDER, Philippe
  • PESTIEAU, Pierre

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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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10797-010-9133-0
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Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) in its series CORE Discussion Papers RP with number -2248.

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Handle: RePEc:cor:louvrp:-2248
Note: In : International Tax and Public Finance, 17(4), 357-377, 2010
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  1. Marc St-Pierre & Daniel Mejia, 2004. "Unequal opportunities and human capital formation," Econometric Society 2004 Latin American Meetings 188, Econometric Society.
  2. Peter Gottschalk & Enrico Spolaore, 2000. "On the Evaluation of Economic Mobility," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 459, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 09 Apr 2001.
  3. Gianni de Fraja, 2002. "The Design of Optimal Education Policies," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(2), pages 437-466.
  4. Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2007. "The Role of School Improvement in Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 12832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Arrow, Kenneth J, 1971. "A Utilitarian Approach to the Concept of Equality in Public Expenditure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 85(3), pages 409-15, August.
  6. Bovenberg, A.L. & Jacobs, B., 2001. "Redistribution and Education Subsidies are Siamese Twins," Discussion Paper 2001-82, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  7. H. I. Grossman & M. Kim, 1999. "Educational Policy: Egalitarian or Elitist?," Working Papers 365, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  8. CREMER, Helmuth & PESTIEAU, Pierre & RACIONERO, Mario, . "Unequal wages for equal utilities," CORE Discussion Papers RP -2369, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  9. Bruno, Michael, 1976. "Equality, complementarity and the incidence of public expenditures," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 395-407, November.
  10. Craig Brett & John Weymark, 2007. "The Impact of Changing Skill Levels on Optimal Nonlinear Income Taxes," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0708, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  11. repec:dgr:uvatin:2005036 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Atkinson, Anthony B & Bourguignon, Francois, 1982. "The Comparison of Multi-Dimensioned Distributions of Economic Status," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(2), pages 183-201, April.
  13. repec:dgr:uvatin:20050036 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Ulph, David, 1977. "On the optimal distribution of income and educational expenditure," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 341-356, December.
  15. Darío Maldonado, 2008. "Education policies and optimal taxation," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 131-143, April.
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