Munich Personal RePEc Archive

From Duty to Right: The Role of Public Education in the Transition to Aging Societies

Sugimoto, Yoshiaki and Nakagawa, Masao (2009): From Duty to Right: The Role of Public Education in the Transition to Aging Societies.

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Abstract

This paper argues that the introduction of compulsory schooling in early industrialization promoted the growth process that eventually led to a vicious cycle of population aging and negative pressure on education policy. In the early phases of industrialization, public education was undesirable for the young poor who relied on child labor. Compulsory schooling therefore discouraged childbirth, while the accompanying industrialization stimulated their demand for education. The subsequent rise in the share of the old population, however, limited government resources for education, placing heavier financial burdens on the young. This induced further fertility decline and population aging, and the resulting cycle may have delayed the growth of advanced economies in the last few decades.

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