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Heterogeneity, Stratification, and Growth: Macroeconomic Implications of Community Structure and School Finance

Roland Bénabou
The American Economic Review
Vol. 86, No. 3 (Jun., 1996), pp. 584-609
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2118213
Page Count: 26
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Heterogeneity, Stratification, and Growth: Macroeconomic Implications of Community Structure and School Finance
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Abstract

This paper examines how socioeconomic stratification and alternative systems of education finance affect inequality and growth. Agents interact through local public goods or externalities (school funding, neighborhood effects) and economy-wide linkages (complementary skills, knowledge spillovers). Sorting families into homogeneous communities often minimizes the costs of existing heterogeneity, but mixing reduces heterogeneity faster. Integration therefore tends to slow down growth in the short run yet raise it in the long run. A move to state funding of education presents society with a similar intertemporal trade-off. Local and global complementaries play major roles in determining the efficient social and educational structures.

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