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Inter-generational contracts, demographic transitions and the 'quantity-quality' tradeoff: parents, children and investing in the future

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  • Naila Kabeer

    (IDS, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK)

Abstract

This paper explores why so many children remain outside the schooling system, despite the current emphasis on education as a form of human capital and as a basic human right. The value given to investments in education partly depends on the extent to which such investments fit in with the implicit inter-generational contracts between parents and children, particularly in societies where there are few alternatives to the family as sources of welfare and security in old age. When the decision to educate a child remains private, the interests of parents' security in old age will dominate over the long-term interests of the child. To explore the circumstances under which parents would be persuaded to invest in their children's education, the paper suggests a series of stylized 'transitions' in the inter-generational contract, each associated with increasing willingness on the part of parents to invest resources in their children. Copyright © 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Naila Kabeer, 2000. "Inter-generational contracts, demographic transitions and the 'quantity-quality' tradeoff: parents, children and investing in the future," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(4), pages 463-482.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jintdv:v:12:y:2000:i:4:p:463-482 DOI: 10.1002/1099-1328(200005)12:4<463::AID-JID684>3.0.CO;2-S
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Becker, Gary S & Lewis, H Gregg, 1973. "On the Interaction between the Quantity and Quality of Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages 279-288, Part II, .
    2. Simon Appleton & John Hoddinott & John MacKinnon, 1996. "Education and health in sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(3), pages 307-339.
    3. Odaga, A. & Heneveld, W., 1995. "Girls and Schools in Sub-Saharan Africa. From Analysis to Action," Papers 298, World Bank - Technical Papers.
    4. Geeta Gandhi Kingdon, 1997. "Does the Labour Market Explain Lower Female Schooling in India?," STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers 01, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
    5. Geeta Gandhi Kingdon, 1998. "Does the labour market explain lower female schooling in India?," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(1), pages 39-65.
    6. Nancy Folbre (ed.), 1996. "The Economics of the Family," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 908, September.
    7. Caldwell, Pat, 1996. "Child survival: Physical vulnerability and resilience in adversity in the European past and the contemporary Third World," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, pages 609-619.
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    Cited by:

    1. Shahin Yaqub, 2009. "Independent Child Migrants in Developing Countries: Unexplored links in migration and development," Papers inwopa09/62, Innocenti Working Papers.
    2. Drusilla K. Brown & Alan V. Deardorff & Robert M. Stern, 2009. "The Effects of Multinational Production on Wages and Working Conditions in Developing Countries," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Globalization And International Trade Policies, chapter 17, pages 623-687 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    3. Philip Kreager & Elisabeth Schröder-Butterfill, 2008. "Indonesia against the trend? Ageing and inter-generational wealth flows in two Indonesian communities," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 19(52), pages 1781-1810, October.
    4. Harper, Caroline & Marcus, Rachel & Moore, Karen, 2003. "Enduring Poverty and the Conditions of Childhood: Lifecourse and Intergenerational Poverty Transmissions," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 535-554, March.

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