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Primary Schooling, Cognitive Skills and Wages in South Africa


  • Moll, Peter G


Using a fairly rich data set from South Africa, the paper finds that, despite the sobriquet 'gutter education,' the African schooling systems help to create cognitive skills, and these skills are a determinant of wage levels. Various robust estimators are used but the influential outlier problem does not turn out to be serious. Computational skills appear to be more important than comprehension skills in influencing wages. The African primary schooling system was an extremely poor generator of computational skill, the seven-year course raising the computational test score by 13 percent, if that. A policy implication is that productivity could be raised by certain near-costless reallocations of resources in favor of mathematical learning. Copyright 1998 by The London School of Economics and Political Science

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  • Moll, Peter G, 1998. "Primary Schooling, Cognitive Skills and Wages in South Africa," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(258), pages 263-284, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:econom:v:65:y:1998:i:258:p:263-84

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    1. David E. Bloom & David Canning & Erica S. Shenoy, 2012. "The effect of vaccination on children's physical and cognitive development in the Philippines," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(21), pages 2777-2783, July.
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    3. Dickerson, Andy & McIntosh, Steven & Valente, Christine, 2015. "Do the maths: An analysis of the gender gap in mathematics in Africa," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 1-22.
    4. Luis Fernando Gamboa & Mauricio Rodríguez-Acosta & Andrés Felipe García-Suaza, 2010. "Academic achievement in sciences: the role of preferences and educative assets," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO 006701, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO.
    5. Peet, Evan D. & Fink, Günther & Fawzi, Wafaie, 2015. "Returns to education in developing countries: Evidence from the living standards and measurement study surveys," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 69-90.
    6. Victoria Gunnarsson & Peter F. Orazem & Mario A. Sánchez, 2006. "Child Labor and School Achievement in Latin America," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 20(1), pages 31-54.
    7. Niels-Hugo Blunch & Claus C. Pörtner, 2011. "Literacy, Skills, and Welfare: Effects of Participation in Adult Literacy Programs," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(1), pages 17-66.
    8. Yang Song, 2012. "Poverty Reduction in China: The Contribution of Popularizing Primary Education," China & World Economy, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 20(1), pages 105-122, January.
    9. Drusilla K. Brown & Alan V. Deardorff & Robert M. Stern, 2009. "The Effects of Multinational Production on Wages and Working Conditions in Developing Countries," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Globalization And International Trade Policies, chapter 17, pages 623-687 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    10. Azam, Jean-Paul & Rospabe, Sandrine, 2007. "Trade unions vs. statistical discrimination: Theory and application to post-apartheid South Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 417-444, September.
    11. Cunningham, Wendy & Villasenor, Paula, 2014. "Employer voices, employer demands, and implications for public skills development policy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6853, The World Bank.
    12. Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2008. "The Role of Cognitive Skills in Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(3), pages 607-668, September.
    13. Wendy V. Cunningham & Paula Villaseñor, 2016. "Employer Voices, Employer Demands, and Implications for Public Skills Development Policy Connecting the Labor and Education Sectors," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 31(1), pages 102-134.
    14. Günther Fink & Evan Peet, 2016. "Returns to Education in Low and Middle-Income Countries: Evidence from the Living Standards and Measurement Surveys," PGDA Working Papers 12014, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.
    15. Undurraga, Eduardo A. & Behrman, Jere R. & Grigorenko, Elena L. & Schultz, Alan & Yiu, Julie & TAPS Bolivia Study Team, & Godoy, Ricardo A., 2013. "Math skills and market and non-market outcomes: Evidence from an Amazonian society of forager-farmers," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 138-147.
    16. Eric A. Hanushek & Victor Lavy & Kohtaro Hitomi, 2008. "Do Students Care about School Quality? Determinants of Dropout Behavior in Developing Countries," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(1), pages 69-105.
    17. Salisbury, Taylor, 2016. "Education and inequality in South Africa: Returns to schooling in the post-apartheid era," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 43-52.
    18. Malcolm Keswell & Laura Poswell, 2004. "Returns To Education In South Africa: A Retrospective Sensitivity Analysis Of The Available Evidence," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 72(4), pages 834-860, September.

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