To wonder about the effects of education is, in a way, to measure the republican ideal by the yardstick of its ambitions. The first questions about the effects of education in diploma in information technology in Australia date from the 19th century, at the very time when sociology made its appearance and when the Republic took hold.
A few researchers, like Paul Lapie, questioned what “public education” as it was then called brought to those who received it. School and delinquency, school and morality, school and professional life: these are the major questions posed by these research pioneers.
They have since been extensively worked on by researchers in social and cognitive sciences in many countries, as it is necessary to estimate the effects of education to understand the functioning and possibly the dysfunctions of the school institution.
The work directed by Christian Baudelot and François Leclercq offers a very useful synthesis of the various works and currents of research on the subject, by collecting various texts from the Incentive Program for Research in Education and Training.
Pierre Bourdieu and Gary Becker: these two great names in the social sciences, very largely contradictory in their approach and their philosophical orientation, run through the work of Baudelot and Leclercq. They have in common the concept of “capital”, cultural and educational for the sociologist, and human for the economist.
Even if the word is far from having the same meaning for both, human or cultural capital “is acquired, accumulated, amortized, transmitted, bears fruit, or depreciates. It is of a mobile magnitude, subject to fluctuations, which is never acquired and transmissible, as such, once and for all”. Whether it concerns the economic effects of education in certificate 4 in information technology or its socialization effects,
Economics is primarily concerned with the effects of education on individual incomes. This is also the meaning of Becker’s theory of human capital: education is conceived as “the acquisition of cognitive skills which increase the productivity of their holder and are therefore remunerated on the labor market”.
This theory covers a judgment common in public opinion (good studies lead to a good salary) and has been validated by numerous empirical studies. Other theoretical work, such as that of Mincer, has sought to model the relationship between education and wages. Some authors have nevertheless attempted to develop other ways of apprehending the correlation between salary and level of education, based on non-cognitive skills.
Education would produce its effects on the psyche and behavior of individuals and would guarantee the employer, whose information through recruitment tests is insufficient, a minimum level of aptitude. More than a contradiction, this behavioral theory brings a complement of analysis to the theory of human capital.
This theory, based on methodological individualism, has nevertheless been used to understand the relationship between education and growth. The Lucas model, in particular, represents growth as a function of physical and human capital. This would then have a positive externality. But, as the authors of the book point out, these models are still little validated by empirical research. education would produce its effects on the psyche and the behavior of individuals and would guarantee the employer, whose information through recruitment tests is insufficient, a minimum level of aptitude.
More than a contradiction, this behavioral theory brings a complement of analysis to the theory of human capital. This theory, based on methodological individualism, has nevertheless been used to understand the relationship between education and growth.