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Disability, Poverty, and Schooling in Developing Countries: Results from 14 Household Surveys


  • Deon Filmer


Analysis of 14 household surveys from 13 developing countries suggests that 1--2 percent of the population have disabilities. Adults with disabilities typically live in poorer than average households: disability is associated with about a 10 percentage point increase in the probability of falling in the two poorest quintiles. Much of the association appears to reflect lower educational attainment among adults with disabilities. People of ages 6--17 with disabilities do not live in systematically wealthier or poorer households than other people of their age, although in all countries studied they are significantly less likely to start school or to be enrolled at the time of the survey. The order of magnitude of the school participation deficit associated with disability--which is as high as 50 percentage points in 3 of the 13 countries--is often larger than deficits related to other characteristics, such as gender, rural residence, or economic status differentials. The results suggest a worrisome vicious cycle of low schooling attainment and subsequent poverty among people with disabilities in developing countries. Copyright The Author 2008. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / the world bank . All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:, Oxford University Press.

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  • Deon Filmer, 2008. "Disability, Poverty, and Schooling in Developing Countries: Results from 14 Household Surveys," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 22(1), pages 141-163, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:wbecrv:v:22:y:2008:i:1:p:141-163

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    Cited by:

    1. Trani, Jean-François & Cannings, Tim I., 2013. "Child Poverty in an Emergency and Conflict Context: A Multidimensional Profile and an Identification of the Poorest Children in Western Darfur," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 48-70.
    2. Mina, Christian D. & Agbon, Adrian D., 2017. "School Participation of Children with Disability: The Case of San Remigio and Mandaue City, Cebu, Philippines," Discussion Papers DP 2017-59, Philippine Institute for Development Studies.
    3. Mitra, Sophie, 2010. "Disability Cash Transfers in the Context of Poverty and Unemployment: The Case of South Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(12), pages 1692-1709, December.
    4. Schultz, T. Paul, 2010. "Population and Health Policies," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier.
    5. Deon Filmer & Kinnon Scott, 2012. "Assessing Asset Indices," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 49(1), pages 359-392, February.
    6. Mont, Daniel & Nguyen, Cuong, 2013. "Does Parental Disability Matter to Child Education? Evidence from Vietnam," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 88-107.
    7. Lamichhane, Kamal & Ballabha, Damaru & Kartika, Diana, 2014. "Analysis of Poverty between People with and without Disabilities in Nepal," Working Papers 77, JICA Research Institute.
    8. Kuroda, Kazuo & Kartika, Diana & Kitamura, Yuto, 2017. "Implications for Teacher Training and Support for Inclusive Education in Cambodia: An Empirical Case Study in a Developing Country," Working Papers 148, JICA Research Institute.
    9. Lamichhane, Kamal & Kawakatsu, Yoshito, 2015. "Disability and determinants of schooling: A case from Bangladesh," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 98-105.
    10. Mitra, Sophie & Posarac, Aleksandra & Vick, Brandon, 2013. "Disability and Poverty in Developing Countries: A Multidimensional Study," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 1-18.
    11. Jose Ramon Albert & Soya Mori & Celia Reyes & Aubrey D. Tabuga & Tatsufumi Yamagata, 2015. "Income Disparity among Persons with Disabilities, Assessed by Education and Sex: Accentuated Gender Difference Found in Metro Manila, the Philippines," The Developing Economies, Institute of Developing Economies, vol. 53(4), pages 289-302, December.
    12. Arlette Simo-Fotso, 2016. "Human Capital Accumulation of Disabled Children:Does Disability Really Matter?," Working Papers 222, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED).
    13. Trani, Jean-Francois & Browne, Joyce & Kett, Maria & Bah, Osman & Morlai, Teddy & Bailey, Nicki & Groce, Nora, 2011. "Access to health care, reproductive health and disability: A large scale survey in Sierra Leone," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(10), pages 1477-1489.
    14. Lamichhane, Kamal & Sawada, Yasuyuki, 2013. "Disability and returns to education in a developing country," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 85-94.
    15. Lamichhane, Kamal & Watanabe, Takayuki, 2015. "The Effect of Disability and Gender on Returns to the Investment in Education: A Case from Metro Manilla of the Philippines," Working Papers 103, JICA Research Institute.
    16. Mitra, Sophie & Posarac, Aleksandra & Vick, Brandon, 2011. "Disability and poverty in developing countries : a snapshot from the world health survey," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 62564, The World Bank.
    17. Igei, Kengo, 2017. "Untangling Disability and Poverty: A Matching Approach Using Large-scale Data in South Africa," Working Papers 142, JICA Research Institute.

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