Classical Economists and Education
The role of the classical economists in the education movement has not been studied in depth, although as Mark Blaug notes, ‘there is a small but growing literature’ on the subject.1 The existing literature provides a wide range of opinions concerning the impact of the classical economists on education policy. Statements range from those of E. G. West, who states classical economists ‘were of all people the most forceful advocates and pioneers of state education,’ to those of Blaug who writes, ‘by paying close attention to dates … we come to realize that the classical economists gradually adjusted their ideas on education in the wake of legislative changes; instead of having an influence on policy, policy had an influence on them’ (West, 1970, pp. 111; Blaug, 1975, p. 568).2
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