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Public Education and the Melting Pot

  • Gradstein, Mark
  • Justman, Moshe

This Paper proposes a theoretical framework that combines the role of education as a cultural melting pot with its function as an instrument of human capital accumulation. It highlights the important role of public education in promoting social cohesion: requiring minority parents to pay twice for culturally distinct private education is a powerful incentive for cultural assimilation through public education. Conversely, subsidizing private schooling through vouchers or tax credits increases social polarization, which may partly explain the strong opposition to voucher experiments. Public education is especially effective in promoting the cultural assimilation of poorer immigrants, but may not be effective in dealing with large numbers of high-income immigrants.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 2924.

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Date of creation: Aug 2001
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:2924
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  13. Roland Benabou, 1991. "Workings of a City: Location, Education, and Production," NBER Technical Working Papers 0113, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  16. Mark Gradstein & Moshe Justman, 2002. "Education, Social Cohesion, and Economic Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1192-1204, September.
  17. Benabou, Roland, 1996. "Heterogeneity, Stratification, and Growth: Macroeconomic Implications of Community Structure and School Finance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 584-609, June.
  18. Knack, Stephen & Keefer, Philip, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-88, November.
  19. Estelle James, 1993. "Why Do Different Countries Choose a Different Public-Private Mix of Educational Services?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 28(3), pages 571-592.
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  23. Gradstein, Mark & Justman, Moshe, 2000. "Human capital, social capital, and public schooling," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(4-6), pages 879-890, May.
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