سرمایه انسانی، سرمایه اجتماعی و آموزش عمومی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : European Economic Review, Volume 44, Issues 4–6, May 2000, Pages 879–890
Public education contributes to growth not only by building human capital but also by instilling common norms that increase social cohesion. This is modeled in the context of a political economy framework in which social cohesion reduces wasteful rent seeking, and thus strengthens incentives for investment in human captial. The political decisions that determine whether different social groups retain separate schooling systems, or adopt an integrated system, weigh these material advantages against the psychic cost to parents of alienating their children from traditional values. This aspect of public education helps explain why, commonly, education is publicly administered as well as publicly financed.
Although education does not have the technical attributes of a public good – it is both appropriable and divisible – public education, especially at the primary and high school levels (K-12), enjoys wide political support in almost all countries. Several recent efforts seek to explain this in terms of the instrumental role of education in building human capital, now widely recognized as an essential production factor of national output.1 Studies in this vein highlight the potential benefits of government intervention as a means of internalizing the external benefits of education, relaxing credit constraints, and redistributing income.2 Yet these are essentially arguments for public financing of education, rather than for public provision. The benefits they attribute to public education can be realized through less intrusive means than public administration, e.g., through the use of subsidies or vouchers. This suggests that there may be other advantages to public provision of education, largely neglected in this literature, which might better serve to explain its broad support. These advantages, we argue in this paper, do not derive from the instrumental role of education in building human capital, through the transmission of knowledge and skills, but from its normative role in building social capital. Public schooling instills common cultural norms and ethical values that lower economic transaction costs and reduce social tensions between different population groups. This normative aspect of education requires the direct controls of a publicly administered schooling system ( Lott, 1990; Kremer and Sarychev, 1998). The economic benefits of normative education work in a variety of ways. Instilling civic virtues from an early age through public schooling reduces future enforcement costs.3 Relatedly, uniform public schooling in a common culture generates network externalities by reducing transaction costs and thus facilitating economic activity – differences in language, custom or religion can give rise to misunderstandings that undermine the efficiency of production and exchange. (We examine this aspect in Gradstein and Justman (2000).) Yet a third benefit of social cohesion derives from the potential for redistributional conflict among distinct ethnic, cultural or religious groups. Uniform public schooling is a means by which the parent generation can effectively reduce the likelihood of such conflict in the following generation. Collectively, parents can contribute to the economic welfare of their children by helping them assimilate within a broader cultural framework. But this is not without cost: the specific social capital of the parents is sacrificed, and the traditional values in which they were raised are diluted, weakening the link between parent and child.4 This emphasis on the normative role of education is strongly reflected in historical experience. The role of education in building social capital was often a prominent motive for developing public education systems. The oldest recorded system of universal (male) public education, dating back nearly two thousand years, is ascribed in the Talmud to the High Priest Joshua b. Gamla, in the generation preceding the destruction of the Second temple, ‘… for but for him the Torah would have been forgotten from Israel. For at first if a child had a father his father taught him, and if he had no father he did not learn at all … At length Joshua b. Gamla came and ordained that teachers of young children should be appointed in each district and each town, and that children should enter school at the age of six or seven’. (Babylonian Talmud, Baba Bathra, 21a). The children were taught to read, understand and memorize Biblical texts, mostly from the Torah. Teachers were under the supervision of the rabbinical court and the scholars, and could be dismissed without warning if they failed to perform their duties adequately.5 Parents were expected to pay for their children's instruction, but needy cases were supported from the public purse (Steinsaltz, 1989); as with subsequent systems of religious education, public administration of the education system, rather than public finance, was the predominant mode of intervention. This education system, which persisted in varying forms throughout the Jewish Diaspora, clearly had an instrumental dimension in its contribution to literacy levels, but this was an ancillary effect. Its primary contribution was to social capital, creating a community of norms and values, and a system of adjudication.6 The earliest examples of modern public education date back to the eighteenth century, established under the absolute monarchies of Frederick the Great in Prussia and Maria-Theresa in Austro-Hungary (Lamberti, 1989). Building on an existing infrastructure of voluntary religious education, their purpose was to instill duty and devotion in their subjects. Other regimes, subscribing to different agendas, similarly sought to instill a sense of civic duty and internalize ethical norms, and thus reduce the cost of enforcing the rule of law. In 1833 the Loi Guizot laid the foundation for a centralized, highly regimented education system in France. Jardin (1983, p. 113) describes its purpose: ‘The school reform, conceived at a time when France was preparing to make a new beginning and to train future generations in a new manner, was designed to foster social cohesion …’. In both Prussia and France public supervision and control of schooling predated full public financing by several decades ( Green, 1990). In both, the wide dissemination of a secular ideology is credited with playing a key role in industrialization ( Gerschenkron, 1962). In democracies, literacy is essential in itself for the informed behavior of the electorate, on which the proper functioning of democracy relies. This link between democratization and education is especially apparent in England, where public schooling followed closely on the extension of the political franchise to the working classes in the Second Reform Act of 1867 and the Third Reform Act of 1884–88. With the Education Act of 1870, ‘the education of the English poor became for the first time the direct concern of the nation’ (Dicey, 1914, p. 277). Here, too, public schooling was made compulsory more than ten years before the legislation of public responsibility for its financing. This role of education as an integrating force shaping the modern industrial nation-state was accentuated in countries that attracted large numbers of immigrants (Green, 1990). Thus the spread of public primary education in the United States in the mid-nineteenth century was aimed at helping newly arrived immigrants acquire not only language skills but also new social and political norms, and the discipline of the workplace in the modern industrial economy (Edwards and Richey, 1963; Bowles and Gintis, 1976). Similarly, in modern Israel the integration of an immigrant society was a central goal of the public school system. Public education has also played an important role in the process of nation building in many multi-ethnic developing countries that gained their independence after World War II. Singapore is a case in point. Under colonial rule, education in Singapore was ethnically segregated, its level and content varying across population groups, but after independence the government unified the different education streams and aggressively promoted universal public schooling, with English as a common official language. This facilitated communication between the different ethnic groups, and while cultural differences remain, potentially destructive ethnic conflict has been avoided (Thomas et al., 1980). In contrast, some of the more ethnically diverse African countries were unable to find a common ground on which to base a unified school curriculum – in terms of language, culture, and social norms. In these countries, where public education was not successful in promoting social cohesion, a high degree of mistrust among different ethnic groups remains a misfortunate reality, often flaring up in violent conflict (Easterly and Levine, 1997). The statistical significance of the contribution of social capital to growth was recently demonstrated by Knack and Keefer (1997), La Porta et al. (1997), and Temple and Johnson (1998), reviving an approach first set out by Adelman and Morris (1967). These studies show that high levels of trust and social participation are positively correlated with growth, after controlling for other growth-promoting factors. Conversely, ethnic heterogeneity in populations comprising rival groups harboring a large degree of mutual mistrust and animosity is often associated with costly struggles over power and resources that are detrimental for growth. In extreme cases these take a violent form, as in the recent tragic experience in former Yugoslavia. But the adverse effects of heterogeneity can be experienced without explicit military conflict, e.g., through nonviolent political struggle over resources between rival ethnic groups. Thus Alesina et al. (1997) argue that ethnic heterogeneity leads to a lower supply of public goods in local communities in the US; and Alesina and La Ferrara (1999) find that social participation is lower in ethnically fragmented communities. The present paper integrates these various strands of the literature by theoretically elaborating the contribution of public schooling to growth through its role in reducing redistributive rent seeking between competing ethnic groups.7 The rent-seeking activities that arise when separate school systems accentuate ethnic differences reduce the anticipated returns to schooling and thus dampen investment in human capital. Social cohesion thus doubly promotes growth: by reducing wasteful rent-seeking activities and increasing investment in productive human capital. The political decisions that determine whether a single uniform education system is adopted, or whether each ethnic group has its own school system, weigh these economic advantages against the psychic cost of alienating one's child from own's one traditions and values.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The economic growth literature, while underscoring the importance of schooling for the accumulation of human capital, has largely disregarded the contribution of public education to social capital. Yet historians of education systems emphasize this aspect of schooling as a primary objective of public education. Public education, especially in early stages of nation building, plays a key role in promoting social cohesion and reducing ethnic tensions. Moreover, recent evidence has shown that the measurable dimensions of social capital – observed levels of trust, voluntarism and social participation – have a significant positive association with growth. The present paper offers a formal model of this aspect of public education, describing a twofold effect of social cohesion on growth. A lessening of social tensions reduces wasteful rent-seeking activities, which increases the returns to human capital and promotes higher levels of investment in education. In this context, political support for public education reflects a balance between the material advantages of a common social fabric and the psychic cost to parents of relinquishing their specific cultural heritage. Hopefully, a better understanding of the role of education in building social capital can shed new light on the historical origins of public education, and on its potential contribution to economic welfare.