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Cognitive skills among children in Senegal: Disentangling the roles of schooling and family background

  • Glick, Peter
  • Sahn, David E.

We use unique data to estimate the determinants of cognitive ability among 14-17-year olds in Senegal. Unlike standard school-based samples, tests were administered to current students as well as to children no longer - or never - enrolled. Years of schooling strongly affects cognitive skills, but conditional on years of school, parental education and household wealth, as well as local public school quality, have surprisingly modest effects on test performance. Instead, family background primarily affects skills indirectly through its impacts on years of schooling. Therefore closing the schooling gaps between poor and wealthy children will also close most of the gap in cognitive skills between these groups.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics of Education Review.

Volume (Year): 28 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 178-188

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:28:y:2009:i:2:p:178-188
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  1. Tan, Jee-Peng & Lane, Julia & Coustere, Paul, 1997. "Putting Inputs to Work in Elementary Schools: What Can Be Done in the Philippines?," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(4), pages 857-79, July.
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  3. David Card & Alan Krueger, 1990. "Does School Quality Matter? Returns to Education and the Characteristics of Public Schools in the United States," NBER Working Papers 3358, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Behrman, Jere R & Birdsall, Nancy, 1983. "The Quality of Schooling: Quantity Alone is Misleading," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 928-46, December.
  5. Paul Glewwe & Hanan Jacoby, 1994. "Student Achievement and Schooling Choice in Low-Income Countries: Evidence from Ghana," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(3), pages 843-864.
  6. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1986. "Evaluating the Effects of Optimally Distributed Public Programs: ChildHealth and Family Planning Interventions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 470-82, June.
  7. David E. Sahn & David Stifel, 2003. "Exploring Alternative Measures of Welfare in the Absence of Expenditure Data," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 49(4), pages 463-489, December.
  8. Glewwe, Paul & Kremer, Michael, 2006. "Schools, Teachers, and Education Outcomes in Developing Countries," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
  9. Michaelowa, Katharina, 2001. "Primary Education Quality in Francophone Sub-Saharan Africa: Determinants of Learning Achievement and Efficiency Considerations," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(10), pages 1699-1716, October.
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