Authors: Stephen Kosack

Mass education is vital to sustainable development, particularly in the information age. In The Education of Nations, Stephen Kosack provides a framework for understanding when a government will invest in quality mass education or concentrate on higher education restricted to elites. Drawing on detailed evidence from more than five decades in Taiwan, Ghana, and Brazil -- three countries with little in common -- Kosack demonstrates that two conditions lead developing nations to invest in mass education. The first of these is an economy in which employers face a shortage of skilled labor that they cannot meet with outsourcing or by hiring foreign workers; the second, and more common, is a government engaging in "political entrepreneurship of the poor" -- developing organizational structures that allow poor citizens to act collectively to support the government. In bringing these conditions to light, The Education of Nations provides a method to explain not only how governments try to distribute educational opportunity, but also the implications for a range of key features of actual education systems, from the relative conditions of schools to the availability of financial aid. In an era when much of a country's success depends on its education, this book explains why governments adopt particular education policies and the political and economic changes that would lead to different ones.