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Economics

Singapore Management University

General Education

2009

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Why Did Universities Precede Primary Schools? A Political Economy Model Of Educational Change, Fali Huang Nov 2009

Why Did Universities Precede Primary Schools? A Political Economy Model Of Educational Change, Fali Huang

Research Collection School Of Economics

Universities were first established in Europe around the twelfth century, while primary schools did not appear until the nineteenth. This paper accounts for this phenomenon using a political economy model of educational change on who are educated (the elite or the masses) and what is taught (general or specific/vocational education). A key assumption is that general education is more effective than specific education in enhancing one’s skills in a broad range of tasks, including political rent-seeking. Its findings suggest that specific education for the masses is compatible with the elite rule, while mass general education is not, which ...