The study of education is fundamental to understanding inequality because the payoff to education (in terms of lifetime earnings) is so substantial. The scholarship within this area examines why some children secure more schooling than others, how parents, teachers, and peers affect the schooling choices that children make, and whether the payoff to schooling differs across population groups and is increasing over time.

Unequal access

Who is attending the best schools? To what extent are schools segregated by race and social class?

Unequal expectations

How do parents, teachers, peers, and the media influence the aspirations of children? How do such aspirations affect educational outcomes?

Payoff to schooling

Is the earnings gap between the highly-educated and the less-educated growing? Are ongoing increases in income inequality attributable to such changes in the payoff to education? Are all population groups securing the same payoff to schooling? How much does "school quality" matter for subsequent outcomes? Is there a substantial payoff to attending elite colleges and universities?

"When the rich wage war it is the poor who die." - Jean-Paul Sartre

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