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Literacy Traps: Society-Wide Education and Individual Skill Premia

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  • Atal, Vidya

    (Cornell University)

  • Basu, Kaushik

    (Cornell University)

  • Gray, John

    (Cornell University)

  • Lee, Travis

    (Cornell University)

Abstract

Using a model of O-ring production function, the paper demonstrates how certain communities can get caught in a low-literacy trap in which each individual finds it not worthwhile investing in higher skills because others are not high-skilled. The model sheds light on educational policy. It is shown that policy for promoting human capital has to take the form of a mechanism for solving the coordination failure in people's choice of educational strategy.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics in its series Working Papers with number 09-05.

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Date of creation: Feb 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:corcae:09-05

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  1. Majumdar, Mukul & Mitra, Tapan, 1982. "Intertemporal allocation with a non-convex technology: The aggregative framework," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 101-136, June.
  2. Michael Kremer & Edward Miguel & Rebecca Thornton, 2004. "Incentives to learn," Natural Field Experiments 00289, The Field Experiments Website.
  3. Rauch James E., 1993. "Productivity Gains from Geographic Concentration of Human Capital: Evidence from the Cities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 380-400, November.
  4. Michael Kremer & Eric Maskin, 1996. "Wage Inequality and Segregation by Skill," NBER Working Papers 5718, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Dreze, Jean & Kingdon, Geeta Gandhi, 2001. "School Participation in Rural India," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(1), pages 1-24, February.
  6. Kremer, Michael, 1993. "The O-Ring Theory of Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 551-75, August.
  7. Mukul Majumdar & Tapan Mitra, 1995. "Patterns Of Trade And Growth Under Increasing Returns: Escape From The Poverty Trap," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 46(3), pages 207-223, 09.
  8. Mehtabul Azam, 2007. "India’s Increasing Skill Premium: Role of Demand and Supply," Departmental Working Papers 0710, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics.
  9. Benjamin F. Jones, 2008. "The Knowledge Trap: Human Capital and Development Reconsidered," NBER Working Papers 14138, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Roland Benabou, 1991. "Workings of a City: Location, Education, and Production," NBER Technical Working Papers 0113, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Jorge Saba Arbache & Andy Dickerson & Francis Green, 2004. "Trade Liberalisation and Wages in Developing Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(493), pages F73-F96, 02.
  12. Dechert, W. Davis & Nishimura, Kazuo, 1983. "A complete characterization of optimal growth paths in an aggregated model with a non-concave production function," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 332-354, December.
  13. Kremer, Michael Robert & Miguel, Edward A. & Thorton, Rebecca L, 2004. "Incentives to Learn," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt9kc4p47q, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
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