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Is Functional Literacy a Prerequisite for Entering the Labor Market? An Analysis of the Determinants of Adult Literacy and Earnings in Ghana

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  • Niels-Hugo, Blunch

    (The George Washington University & World Bank)

  • Verner, Dorte

    (World Bank)

Abstract

This article analyzes the determinants of literacy and earnings in Ghana. It links literacy and earnings with a variety of factors, including age, gender, family educational background, distance to school, and income. Literacy and age are negatively correlated, suggesting that efforts at strengthening the supply and quality of basic education programs in recent years have been successful in raising literacy rates. Females are less literate than males, controlling for other factors. Parents' education is positively associated with literacy. Distance to the nearest primary school, residency in a rural area, and poverty affect literacy negatively. Functional literacy appears to be a prerequisite for entering the labor market, which may partly explain the lack of return to education other than middle school and technical/professional training. The policy implication of the study is that basic education and literacy programs should target females and poorer households, especially in rural areas.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Centre for Labour Market and Social Research in its series CLS Working Papers with number 00-5.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: May 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:aarcls:2000_005

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Keywords: Functional literacy; earnings determinants; Ghana; Sub-Saharan Africa;

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  1. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence Kahn, 1995. "The Gender Earnings Gap: Some International Evidence," NBER Chapters, in: Differences and Changes in Wage Structures, pages 105-144 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Francine D. Blau, 1996. "The Gender Pay Gap," NBER Working Papers 5664, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. James J. Heckman, 1976. "The Common Structure of Statistical Models of Truncation, Sample Selection and Limited Dependent Variables and a Simple Estimator for Such Models," NBER Chapters, in: Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 5, number 4, pages 475-492 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Lavy, V. & Spratt, J. & Leboucher, N., 1995. "Changing Patterns of Illiteracy in Morocco: Assement Methods Compared," Papers, World Bank - Living Standards Measurement 115, World Bank - Living Standards Measurement.
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Cited by:
  1. de Baldini Rocha, Maúna Soares & Ponczek, Vladimir, 2011. "The effects of adult literacy on earnings and employment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 755-764, August.
  2. Martin Godfrey, 2003. "Youth employment policy in developing and transition countries - preventionas well as cure," Social Protection Discussion Papers 27875, The World Bank.

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