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

  • Naila Kabeer

    (IDS, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK)

Registered author(s):

    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.

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    Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of International Development.

    Volume (Year): 12 (2000)
    Issue (Month): 4 ()
    Pages: 463-482

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    Handle: RePEc:wly:jintdv:v:12:y:2000:i:4:p:463-482
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/5102/home

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    1. Odaga, A. & Heneveld, W., 1995. "Girls and Schools in Sub-Saharan Africa. From Analysis to Action," Papers 298, World Bank - Technical Papers.
    2. 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 S279-88, Part II, .
    3. Geeta Gandhi Kingdon, 1997. "Does the labour market explain lower female schooling in India?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 6715, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. Caldwell, Pat, 1996. "Child survival: Physical vulnerability and resilience in adversity in the European past and the contemporary Third World," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 43(5), pages 609-619, September.
    5. 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.
    6. Nancy Folbre (ed.), 1996. "The Economics of the Family," Books, Edward Elgar, number 908, December.
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