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To What Extent are African Education Policies Pro-poor?

  • Jean-Claude Berthélemy

This paper discusses the distributional consequences of education policies in developing countries, with a specific emphasis on sub-Saharan Africa. We show that human capital is particularly unequally distributed in sub-Saharan African countries and in Middle-East and North Africa and South Asian regions as well. To obtain this conclusion, we build an analytical framework in which the effects of the level and of the structure of human capital are separated, which provides a way to correct data for the inevitable correlation that exists between the aggregate level of human capital and its concentration. We provide further evidence, based on sub-Saharan African schooling structure data, that these countries pay, relatively speaking, little attention to primary education, to the benefit of secondary education. We interpret this bias as the result of specific institutional characteristics of sub-Saharan Africa, which are deeply-rooted in its history (in particular its post-colonial legacy), its demography and its geography. Copyright 2006, Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE) in its journal Journal of African Economies.

Volume (Year): 15 (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 434-469

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Handle: RePEc:oup:jafrec:v:15:y:2006:i:3:p:434-469
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  1. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 2013. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Working Papers 2013-12, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  2. Daniel Cohen & Marcelo Soto, 2007. "Growth and human capital: good data, good results," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 51-76, March.
  3. Amparo Castello & Rafael Domenech, 2002. "Human Capital Inequality and Economic Growth: Some New Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(478), pages C187-C200, March.
  4. Denis Cogneau & Charlotte Guénard, 2005. "Colonization, Institutions, and Inequality: A Note on Some Suggestive Evidence," Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers 107, Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research.
  5. Psacharopoulos, George, 1994. "Returns to investment in education: A global update," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 22(9), pages 1325-1343, September.
  6. Knight, J B & Sabot, R H, 1983. "Educational Expansion and the Kuznets Effect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 1132-36, December.
  7. Thomas, Vinod & Wang, Yan & Fan, Xibo, 2001. "Measuring education inequality - Gini coefficients of education," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2525, The World Bank.
  8. Lopez, Ramon & Thomas, Vinod & Yan Wang, 1998. "Addressing the education puzzle : the distribution of education and economic reform," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2031, The World Bank.
  9. Pritchett, Lant, 1996. "Where has all the education gone?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1581, The World Bank.
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