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Theoretical and Applied Economics
No. 2 / 2015 (603), Summer

Education and society: an institutional approach

Marius-Cristian PANĂ
Bucharest University of Economic Studies, Romania

Abstract. Mainstream arguments regarding education’s role in society are supported mainly through the theory of positive externalities. It is considered, almost axiomatically, that education represents the main means through which it is transmitted inter and intra generational the set of values that facilitate the ordered structuring of social interactions. Based on this reasoning, education has become a holistic concept and the management of the whole educational process is the sum of initiatives oriented towards the attainment of the “social good”. In practice, the functioning of public educational systems around the world widely confirms the failure of positive externality argument. The purpose of this paper is to offer a counterfactual perspective to the dominant holistic theory, and moreover, to offer a possible explanation, from an institutional view, for the failure of public educational systems.

Keywords: institutional arrangements, education, positive externalities, society.

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