More Equal but Less Mobile?: Education Financing and Intergenerational Mobility in Italy and in the US
Title: More Equal but Less Mobile?: Education Financing and Intergenerational Mobility in Italy and in the US
Citation: Journal of Public Economics, 1999, 74, 3, 551-593
A centralised and egalitarian school system reduces the cost of education for poor families, and so it should reduce income inequality and make intergenerational mobility easier. In this paper we provide evidence that Italy, compared to the USA, displays less income inequality, as expected given the type of school system, but also less intergenerational upward mobility between occupations and between education levels. We explore some of the reasons which can explain this puzzling result and conclude that in a world in which family background is important for labor market success, a centralised and egalitarian tertiary education does not necessarily help poor children and may take away from them a fundamental tool to prove their talent and to compete with rich children.
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