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Parental Characteristics, Supply of Schools, and Child School-enrolment in Pakistan


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  • Nadeem A. Burney

    (Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, Islamabad.)

  • Mohammad Irfan

    (Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, Islamabad.)


In recent years, due to a virtual unanimity about the critical role of human capital in economic development, increased efforts are being made in the developing countries to eradicate illiteracy. Despite a significant increase over time in the number of educational institutions and the government's expenditure on education in Pakistan, the performance of the education sector in terms of output has been at best meagre. This non-correspondence between the growth in the educational institutions and the resultant output implies that failure to enlist the participation of the population in education can hardly be attributed exclusively to an insufficiency of the schools. To the extent that child schooling reflects parental capacity to invest in human capital formation, there is a need to reckon with factors bearing parental decision regarding child schooling. This paper investigates family's decision regarding child schooling through an assessment of the determinants of child school-enrolment, using choice theoretic framework. The regression results are indicative of the influence of household status, both economic and social, on the propensity to invest in child schooling. A positive association between the household income, parental education, and tenurial status as land-owner bear out the importance of these factors in shaping the household's decision regarding investment in human capital formation. The study also finds traces of the quantity-quality trade-off in family's preferences regarding the number of children, and it is found to be male-specific. The most disturbing finding of the study appears to be the predominance of the influence originating from parental education. It is this inter-generational transfer of human capital which needs more attention as it also implies that illiteracy, and hence poverty, of the parents gets transmitted to the off-spring. The analysis also brings out the fact that the labour market hiring practices serve as an important feedback to the household's human capital formation behaviour.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Pakistan Institute of Development Economics in its journal The Pakistan Development Review.

Volume (Year): 30 (1991)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 21-62

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Handle: RePEc:pid:journl:v:30:y:1991:i:1:p:21-62

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  1. Behrman, Jere R & Wolfe, Barbara L, 1984. "A More General Approach to Fertility Determination in a Developing Country: The Importance of Biological Supply Considerations, Endogenous Tastes and Unperceived Jointness," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 51(23), pages 319-39, August.
  2. Amemiya, Takeshi, 1981. "Qualitative Response Models: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 1483-1536, December.
  3. Becker, Gary S & Tomes, Nigel, 1976. "Child Endowments and the Quantity and Quality of Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages S143-62, August.
  4. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1980. "Testing the Quantity-Quality Fertility Model: The Use of Twins as a Natural Experiment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(1), pages 227-40, January.
  5. Judith Blake, 1981. "Family size and the quality of children," Demography, Springer, vol. 18(4), pages 421-442, November.
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Cited by:
  1. G. M. Arif & Najam US Saqib & G. M. Zahid, 1999. "Poverty, Gender, and Primary School Enrolment in Pakistan," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 38(4), pages 979-992.
  2. Imran Ashraf Toor & Rizwana Parveen, 2004. "Factors Influencing Girls’ Primary Enrolment in Pakistan," Lahore Journal of Economics, Department of Economics, The Lahore School of Economics, vol. 9(2), pages 141-157, Jul-Dec.
  3. Sajid Amin Javed & Mohammad Irfan, 2012. "Intergenerational Mobility: Evidence from Pakistan Panel Household Survey," Poverty and Social Dynamics Paper Series 2012:05, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics.
  4. Zeba A. Sathar & Cynthia B. Lloyd, 1994. "Who Gets Primary Schooling in Pakistan: Inequalities among and within Families," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 33(2), pages 103-134.
  5. Minhaj Ul Haque & Munawar Sultana, 2003. "Coming of Age in Contemporary Pakistan: Influences of Gender and Poverty," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 42(4), pages 643-668.
  6. Naushin Mahmood, 2004. "Transition in Primary and Secondary Schooling in Pakistan: Gender and Age Cohort Analysis," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 43(1), pages 53-71.


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