IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/ucp/ecdecc/doi10.1086-661219.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Literacy, Skills, and Welfare: Effects of Participation in Adult Literacy Programs

Author

Listed:
  • Niels-Hugo Blunch
  • Claus C. Pörtner

Abstract

This paper examines the effect of adult literacy program participation on household consumption in Ghana. The adult literacy programs in Ghana are of special interest because they are more comprehensive than standard literacy programs and incorporate many additional topics. We use community fixed effects combined with instrumental variables to account for possible endogenous program placement and self-selection into program participation. For households where none of the adults have completed any formal education we find a substantial, positive, and statistically significant effect on household consumption. Our preferred estimate of the effect of participation for households without education is equivalent to a 10% increase in consumption per adult equivalent. The effects of participation on welfare for other households are smaller, not statistically significant, and become smaller the more educated the household is. We find positive and statistically significant effects of participation on literacy and numeracy rates, although the increases are too small to be the only explanation for the welfare effects. There is also evidence that participants are more likely to engage in market activities and to sell a variety of agricultural goods. Taking account of both direct cost and opportunity cost, we argue that the social returns of adult literacy programs are substantial.

Suggested Citation

  • Niels-Hugo Blunch & Claus C. Pörtner, 2011. "Literacy, Skills, and Welfare: Effects of Participation in Adult Literacy Programs," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(1), pages 17-66.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:ecdecc:doi:10.1086/661219
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/661219
    Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/661219
    Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Christian Dustmann & Francesca Fabbri, 2003. "Language proficiency and labour market performance of immigrants in the UK," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(489), pages 695-717, July.
    2. John H. Tyler & Richard J. Murnane & John B. Willett, 2000. "Do the Cognitive Skills of School Dropouts Matter in the Labor Market?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(4), pages 748-754.
    3. Barry R. Chiswick & Yew Liang Lee & Paul W. Miller, 2003. "Schooling, Literacy, Numeracy and Labour Market Success," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 79(245), pages 165-181, June.
    4. Mitra, Aparna, 2002. "Mathematics skill and male-female wages," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 443-456.
    5. Ishikawa, Mamoru & Ryan, Daniel, 2002. "Schooling, basic skills and economic outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 231-243, June.
    6. Daniel Ortega & Francisco Rodríguez, 2008. "Freed from Illiteracy? A Closer Look at Venezuela's Misión Robinson Literacy Campaign," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(1), pages 1-30, October.
    7. Ribar, David C., 2004. "What Do Social Scientists Know About the Benefits of Marriage? A Review of Quantitative Methodologies," IZA Discussion Papers 998, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Green, David A. & Craig Riddell, W., 2003. "Literacy and earnings: an investigation of the interaction of cognitive and unobserved skills in earnings generation," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 165-184, April.
    9. Moll, Peter G, 1998. "Primary Schooling, Cognitive Skills and Wages in South Africa," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(258), pages 263-284, May.
    10. Boissiere, M & Knight, J B & Sabot, R H, 1985. "Earnings, Schooling, Ability, and Cognitive Skills," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(5), pages 1016-1030, December.
    11. Murnane, Richard J & Willett, John B & Levy, Frank, 1995. "The Growing Importance of Cognitive Skills in Wage Determination," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(2), pages 251-266, May.
    12. 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 470-482, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Deshpande, Ashwini & Desrochers, Alain & Ksoll, Christopher & Shonchoy, Abu S., 2017. "The Impact of a Computer-based Adult Literacy Program on Literacy and Numeracy: Evidence from India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 451-473.
    2. Blunch, Niels-Hugo, 2017. "A Teenager in Love: Multidimensional Human Capital and Teenage Pregnancy in Ghana," IZA Discussion Papers 10663, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Christopher Ksoll, Janny Aker, Danielle Miller, Karla C. Perez-Mendoza, and Susan L. Smalley, 2014. "Learning without Teachers? A Randomized Experiment of a Mobile Phone-Based Adult Education Program in Los Angeles - Working Paper 368," Working Papers 368, Center for Global Development.
    4. Gundersen, Sara, 2016. "Disappointing returns to education in Ghana: A test of the robustness of OLS estimates using propensity score matching," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 74-89.
    5. repec:iza:izawol:y:journl:2017:n:374 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Jenny C. Aker & Christopher Ksoll & Travis J. Lybbert, 2012. "Can Mobile Phones Improve Learning? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Niger," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 94-120, October.
    7. Barakat, Bilal, 2016. "Improving Adult Literacy Without Improving The Literacy of Adults? A Cross-National Cohort Analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 242-257.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ucp:ecdecc:doi:10.1086/661219. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Journals Division). General contact details of provider: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/EDCC/ .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.