Why Did Universities Precede Primary Schools? A Political Economy Model of Educational Change

17 Pages Posted: 19 Apr 2012

See all articles by Fali Huang

Fali Huang

Singapore Management University - School of Social Sciences

Date Written: April 2012

Abstract

Universities were first established in Europe around the twelfth century, although primary schools did not appear until the nineteenth. This paper accounts for this phenomenon using a political economy model of educational change on who are educated (the elite or the masses) and what is taught (general or specific/vocational education). A key assumption is that general education is more effective than specific education in enhancing one's skills in a broad range of tasks, including political rentā€seeking. Its findings suggest that specific education for the masses is compatible with the elite rule, whereas mass general education is not, which refines the conventional association between education and democracy.

JEL Classification: O10, O40, P16, N10

Suggested Citation

Huang, Fali, Why Did Universities Precede Primary Schools? A Political Economy Model of Educational Change (April 2012). Economic Inquiry, Vol. 50, Issue 2, pp. 418-434, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2042368 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1465-7295.2010.00308.x

Fali Huang (Contact Author)

Singapore Management University - School of Social Sciences ( email )

90 Stamford Road
Singapore, 178903
Singapore
65-68280859 (Phone)
65-68280833 (Fax)

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