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Mass Education or a Minority Well Educated Elite in the Process of Development: the Case of India

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  • Amparo Castelló-Climent
  • Abhiroop Mukhopadhyay

Abstract

This paper analyses whether in developing countries mass education is more growth enhancing than to have a minority well educated elite. Using the Indian census data as a benchmark and enrollment rates at different levels of education we compute annual attainment levels for a panel of 16 Indian states from 1961 to 2001. Results indicate that if the reduction of illiteracy stops at the primary level of education, it is not worthwhile for growth. Instead, the findings reveal a strong and robust significant effect on growth of a greater share of population completing tertiary education. The economic impact is also found to be very large: if one percent of the adult population were to complete tertiary education instead of completing only primary, the annual growth rate could increase by about 4 percentage points. Moreover, we find that a one percentage change in tertiary education has the same effect on growth as a decrease in illiteracy by 13 percentage points. A sensitivity analysis shows the results are unlikely to be driven by omitted variables, structural breaks, reverse causation or atypical observations.

Suggested Citation

  • Amparo Castelló-Climent & Abhiroop Mukhopadhyay, 2011. "Mass Education or a Minority Well Educated Elite in the Process of Development: the Case of India," CEP Discussion Papers dp1086, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1086
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    Keywords

    Distribution of education; attainment levels; economic growth; panel data;

    JEL classification:

    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O50 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - General

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