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Elite education, mass education, and the transition to modern growth

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  • Strulik, Holger
  • Werner, Katharina

Abstract

For most of human history there existed a well-educated and innovative elite whereas mass education, market R&D, and high growth are phenomena of the modern period. In order to explain these phenomena we propose an innovation-driven growth model for the very long run in which the individual-specific return to education is conceptualized as an compound of cognitive ability and family background. This allows us to establish a locally stable steady state at which family background determines whether an individual experiences education and a locally stable steady state at which education is determined by cognitive ability. Compulsory schooling can move society from elite education to mass education. An interaction between education and life expectancy explains why the education period gets longer with ongoing economic development. Embedding this household behavior into a macro-economy we can explain different paths to modern growth: According to the Prussian way, compulsory education is implemented first and triggers later on the onset of market R&D and modern growth. According to the British way, market R&D and the take off to growth is initiated without mass education, which is triggered later by technical progress and economic development.

Suggested Citation

  • Strulik, Holger & Werner, Katharina, 2014. "Elite education, mass education, and the transition to modern growth," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 205, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:cegedp:205
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    Cited by:

    1. Brigitte Granville & Jaume Martorell Cruz & Martha Prevezer, 2015. "Elites, Thickets and Institutions: French Resistance versus German Adaptation to Economic Change, 1945-2015," Working Papers 63, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research.
    2. Holger Strulik & Katharina Werner, 2016. "50 is the new 30—long-run trends of schooling and retirement explained by human aging," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 165-187, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    long-run growth; elite education; compulsory education; longevity; R&D;

    JEL classification:

    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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