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Mass education or a minority well educated elite in the process of growth: The case of India

  • Castelló-Climent, Amparo
  • Mukhopadhyay, Abhiroop

This paper analyzes whether mass education is more growth enhancing in developing countries than having a minority well educated elite. Using Indian Census data as a benchmark and enrollment rates at different levels of education, we compute annual attainment levels for a panel of 16 Indian states from 1961 to 2001. Results indicate that if the reduction in illiteracy stops at the primary level of education, it is not worthwhile for growth. Instead, the findings reveal a strong and significant effect on growth of a greater share of population completing tertiary education. The economic impact is also found to be large: a one percent change in tertiary education has the same effect on growth as a 13% decrease in illiteracy rates. A sensitivity analysis shows the results are unlikely to be driven by omitted variables, structural breaks, reverse causation or atypical observations.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 105 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 303-320

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Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:105:y:2013:i:c:p:303-320
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