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India shining and Bharat drowning: Comparing two Indian states to the worldwide distribution in mathematics achievement

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  • Das, Jishnu
  • Zajonc, Tristan

Abstract

Increasing evidence suggests that the level and distribution of cognitive skills is more important to economic development than absolute measures of schooling attainment, and that income and skill inequality are inextricably linked. Yet for most of the developing world no internationally comparable estimates of cognitive skills exist. This paper uses student answers to publicly released questions from an international testing agency together with statistical methods from Item Response Theory to place secondary students from two Indian states--Orissa and Rajasthan--on a worldwide distribution of mathematics achievement. These two states fall below 43 of the 51 countries for which data exist. The bottom 5% of children rank higher than the bottom 5% in only three countries--South Africa, Ghana and Saudi Arabia. But not all students test poorly. Inequality in the test-score distribution for both states is next only to South Africa. The combination of India's size and large variance in achievement give both the perceptions that India is shining even as Bharat, the vernacular for India, is drowning. How India's development unfolds will depend critically on how the skill distribution evolves and how low- and high-skilled workers interact in the labor market.

Suggested Citation

  • Das, Jishnu & Zajonc, Tristan, 2010. "India shining and Bharat drowning: Comparing two Indian states to the worldwide distribution in mathematics achievement," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(2), pages 175-187, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:92:y:2010:i:2:p:175-187
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    Cited by:

    1. Emran, M. Shahe & Shilpi, Forhad, 2015. "Gender, Geography, and Generations: Intergenerational Educational Mobility in Post-Reform India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 362-380.
    2. repec:aea:aecrev:v:107:y:2017:i:6:p:1535-63 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Azam, Mehtabul & Kingdon, Geeta Gandhi, 2015. "Assessing teacher quality in India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 74-83.
    4. Tahir Andrabi & Jishnu Das & Asim Ijaz Khwaja, 2015. "Delivering education: a pragmatic framework for improving education in low-income countries," Chapters,in: Handbook of International Development and Education, chapter 6, pages 85-130 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. Tahir Andrabi & Jishnu Das & Asim Khwaja, 2014. "Report Cards: The Impact of Providing School and Child Test Scores on Educational Markets," CID Working Papers 287, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    6. Mohammad Niaz Asadullah, Nazmul Chaudhury, 2013. "Primary Schooling, Student Learning, and School Quality in Rural Bangladesh-Working Paper 349," Working Papers 349, Center for Global Development.
    7. Karthik Muralidharan & Abhijeet Singh & Alejandro J. Ganimian, 2016. "Disrupting Education? Experimental Evidence on Technology-Aided Instruction in India," NBER Working Papers 22923, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. M. Niaz Asadullah, 2016. "The Effect Of Islamic Secondary School Attendance On Academic Achievement," The Singapore Economic Review (SER), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 61(04), pages 1-24, September.
    9. Das, Jishnu & Zajonc, Tristan, 2010. "India shining and Bharat drowning: Comparing two Indian states to the worldwide distribution in mathematics achievement," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(2), pages 175-187, July.
    10. Rajesh Raj, S.N. & Sen, Kunal & Annigeri, Vinod B. & Kulkarni, Arun K. & Revankar, D.R., 2015. "Joyful learning? The effects of a school intervention on learning outcomes in Karnataka," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 183-195.
    11. Glewwe, Paul & Huang, Qiuqiong & Park, Albert, 2017. "Cognitive skills, noncognitive skills, and school-to-work transitions in rural China," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 141-164.
    12. Tahir Andrabi & Jishnu Das & Asim Ijaz Khwaja, 2012. "What Did You Do All Day?: Maternal Education and Child Outcomes," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(4), pages 873-912.
    13. Singh, Abhijeet, 2015. "Private school effects in urban and rural India: Panel estimates at primary and secondary school ages," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 16-32.
    14. Abhijeet Singh, 2014. "Emergence and evolution of learning gaps across countries: Linked panel evidence from Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam," CSAE Working Paper Series 2014-28, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    15. Pauline Dixon, 2013. "International Aid and Private Schools for the Poor," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 15122.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Schooling Test scores Inequality Item response Growth;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation

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