July 1, 2013

Resisting Education

  • Mark Koyama

    Senior Fellow, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics and Economics
  • Jean Paul Carvalho

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Read the article on SSRN.com 

The authors develop a model in which individuals choose education to improve their earnings and regulate the cultural traits they acquire via social transmission. When education makes individuals more receptive to mainstream culture, minority groups under-invest in education as a form of cultural resistance. Economic and cultural incentives interact in surprising ways that increase income inequality. An increase in the skill premium induces low-ability minority types to reduce education -- a phenomenon the authors call resisting education. The model links technological progress, globalization and anti-discrimination policies (e.g. affirmative action, Jewish emancipation) to oppositional attitudes toward education.