DP2773 Education, Social Cohesion and Economic Growth

Author(s): Mark Gradstein, Moshe Justman
Publication Date: April 2001
Keyword(s): Economic Growth, Education, Social Cohesion
JEL(s): D70, I21, O40
Programme Areas: Public Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=2773

Analysis of the contribution of education to growth through its role in promoting a common culture indicates that when different cultural groups separately determine the social content of their school curricula excessive polarization can result, with less than optimal growth. The optimal trajectory involves a gradual, reciprocal convergence of school curricula towards the middle ground. This may be difficult to implement in a political context in which all agents are identified with one group or another. When curricula are determined by legislative bargaining, centralization of schooling may result in overly rapid homogenization in some cases, and - perhaps surprisingly - excessive polarization in others.