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Education For All: A Welfare-Improving Course for Africa?


  • Elisabeth Caucutt

    (University of Western Ontario)

  • Krishna B. Kumar

    (Duke University)


In this paper, we argue that the case for universal compulsory education for sub-Saharan Africa might have been overstated. We capture the African situation through a heterogeneous-agent model, in which high costs of education relative to income and the skill premium cause the economy to stagnate in a low steady state with minimal educational attainment. We calibrate the model to available data from the sub-Saharan African countries to study education policies. We find that a tax and in-kind subsidy scheme that effectively redistributes resources from households with lower ability children to those with higher ability children outperforms enrollment-maximizing policies such as the abolition of child labor and compulsory education. (Copyright: Elsevier)

Suggested Citation

  • Elisabeth Caucutt & Krishna B. Kumar, 2007. "Education For All: A Welfare-Improving Course for Africa?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 10(2), pages 294-326, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:issued:06-75
    DOI: 10.1016/

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Alain Nurbel & Ibrahim Ahamada, 2008. "Investissements directs étrangers entrants et développement : l'enjeu de la capacité d'absorption," Mondes en développement, De Boeck Université, vol. 0(3), pages 79-96.
    2. Sylvain Dessy & Tiana Rambeloma, 2009. "Immigration Policy, Remittances, and Growth in the Migrant-Sending Country," Cahiers de recherche 0915, CIRPEE.

    More about this item


    Heterogeneous-agent macroeconomic models; Education subsidies; Economic stagnation;

    JEL classification:

    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid


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