To Segregate or to Integrate: Education Politics and Democracy

56 Pages Posted: 24 Aug 2007 Last revised: 19 Oct 2007

See all articles by David de la Croix

David de la Croix

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES); Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE)

Matthias Doepke

Northwestern University - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Date Written: August 2007

Abstract

The governments of nearly all countries are major providers of primary and secondary education to their citizens. In some countries, however, public schools coexist with private schools, while in others the government is the sole provider of education. In this study, we ask why different societies make different choices regarding the mix of private and public schooling. We develop a theory which integrates private education and fertility decisions with voting on public schooling expenditures. In a given political environment, high income inequality leads to more private education, as rich people opt out of the public system. More private education, in turn, results in an improved quality of public education, because public spending can be concentrated on fewer students. Comparing across political systems, we find that concentration of political power can lead to multiple equilibria in the determination of public education spending. The main predictions of the theory are consistent with state-level and micro data from the United States as well as cross-country evidence from the PISA study.

Suggested Citation

de la Croix, David and Doepke, Matthias, To Segregate or to Integrate: Education Politics and Democracy (August 2007). NBER Working Paper No. w13319, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1008813

David De la Croix

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES) ( email )

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Louvain-la-Neuve, 1348
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Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) ( email )

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B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, b-1348
Belgium

Matthias Doepke (Contact Author)

Northwestern University - Department of Economics ( email )

2003 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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