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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
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:2924
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  17. Chiswick, Barry R, 1991. "Speaking, Reading, and Earnings among Low-Skilled Immigrants," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(2), pages 149-70, April.
  18. Erzo F.P. Luttmer, 1999. "Group Loyalty and the Taste for Redistribution," Working Papers 9902, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  19. 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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