Prete V., Zoli C. (2019).

The political economy of educational policies and inequality of opportunity. Department of Economics, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice.


We propose a political economy model to explain cross-country differences observed in educational policies and to show how such heterogeneity is associated with the level of a country’s development and inequality. Parents, heterogeneous in terms of income and their child’s ability, vote over the educational policy, by deciding the allocation of a given public budget between basic and higher education. Parents can invest in supplemental private education to increase the probability of their children of being admitted to higher education. When the level of development is low and inequality between social classes is sufficiently large, there is low exchange social mobility in the access to higher education, and educational policies are characterized by a large relative per-student expenditure in higher education.