Public Education and the Melting Pot

33 Pages Posted: 30 Aug 2001

See all articles by Mark Gradstein

Mark Gradstein

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Moshe Justman

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev - Department of Economics; University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research

Date Written: August 2001

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Public education, education vouchers, cultural assimilation

JEL Classification: D72, I21, I22, O15

Suggested Citation

Gradstein, Mark and Justman, Moshe, Public Education and the Melting Pot (August 2001). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=281519

Mark Gradstein (Contact Author)

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev - Department of Economics ( email )

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

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Moshe Justman

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev - Department of Economics ( email )

Beer-Sheva 84105
Israel
+972 864 72292 (Phone)
+972 864 72941 (Fax)

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research ( email )

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Parkville, Victoria 3010
Australia

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