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Education and the Poverty Trap in Rural China

Author

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  • John Knight
  • Li Shi
  • Deng Quheng

Abstract

This is an ambitious attempt to view the relationships involving education and income as forming a system, and one that can generate a poverty trap. The setting is rural China, and the data are from a national household survey for 2002, designed with research hypotheses in mind. Enrolment is high in rural China by comparison with most poor rural societies, but the quality of education varies greatly. There are three main strands to the paper. One examines the determinants of enrolment, and finds that poverty has an adverse effect on both the quality and quantity of education - so contributing to a poverty trap. The second examines the effects of education. It shows how and why the returns to education vary according to household and community income – so also contributing to a poverty trap. The third strand brings no fewer than 17 estimated relationships together as a system, and poses the question: can education break the vicious circle of poverty? The implications for poverty analysis and for educational policy are considered.

Suggested Citation

  • John Knight & Li Shi & Deng Quheng, 2008. "Education and the Poverty Trap in Rural China," CSAE Working Paper Series 2008-02, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  • Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2008-02
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    File URL: http://www.csae.ox.ac.uk/materials/papers/2008-02text.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Connelly, Rachel & Zheng, Zhenzhen, 2003. "Determinants of school enrollment and completion of 10 to 18 year olds in China," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 379-388, August.
    2. Knight, John & Song, Lina, 2006. "Towards a Labour Market in China," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199215553.
    3. Li, Tianyou & Zhang, Junsen, 1998. "Returns to education under collective and household farming in China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 307-335, August.
    4. Sharada Weir & John Knight, 2007. "Production Externalities of Education: Evidence from Rural Ethiopia," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 16(1), pages 134-165, January.
    5. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2004. "How Important is Methodology for the estimates of the determinants of Happiness?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 641-659, July.
    6. Schultz, Theodore W, 1975. "The Value of the Ability to Deal with Disequilibria," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 827-846, September.
    7. Song, Lina & Appleton, Simon & Knight, John, 2006. "Why Do Girls in Rural China Have Lower School Enrollment?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(9), pages 1639-1653, September.
    8. Geeta G. Kingdon & John Knight, 2003. "Well-being poverty versus income poverty and capabilities poverty?," CSAE Working Paper Series 2003-16, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    9. John Knight & Li Shi, 1997. "Cumulative causation and inequality among villages in China," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 25(2), pages 149-172.
    10. Weir, Sharada & Knight, John, 2004. "Externality Effects of Education: Dynamics of the Adoption and Diffusion of an Innovation in Rural Ethiopia," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(1), pages 93-113, October.
    11. Brown, Philip H. & Park, Albert, 2002. "Education and poverty in rural China," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 523-541, December.
    12. John Knight & Sharada Weir & Tassew Woldehanna, 2003. "The role of education in facilitating risk-taking and innovation in agriculture," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(6), pages 1-22.
    13. 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.
    14. Alan de Brauw & John Giles, 2017. "Migrant Opportunity and the Educational Attainment of Youth in Rural China," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 52(1), pages 272-311.
    15. John Knight & Li Shi, 1999. "Fiscal decentralization: Incentives, redistribution and reform in China," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(1), pages 5-32.
    16. Knight, John & Li, Shi, 1996. "Educational Attainment and the Rural--Urban Divide in China," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 58(1), pages 83-117, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Horacio Villegas Q. & Jaime Vargas R. & David Perez O., 2016. "Impact of education on poverty in Bolivia," Economía Coyuntural,Revista de temas de perspectivas y coyuntura, Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas y Sociales 'José Ortiz Mercado' (IIES-JOM), Facultad de Ciencias Económicas, Administrativas y Financieras, Universidad Autónoma Gabriel René Moreno, vol. 1(4), pages 33-60.
    2. Caine Rolleston, 2010. "Educational access and poverty reduction: the case of Ghana 1991-2006," Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación volume 5,in: María Jesús Mancebón-Torrubia & Domingo P. Ximénez-de-Embún & José María Gómez-Sancho & Gregorio Gim (ed.), Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación 5, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 32, pages 625-650 Asociación de Economía de la Educación.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Education; school enrolment; quality of education; poverty; poverty trap; vicious circle; virtuous circle; cumulative causation; credit constraint; China;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I30 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty

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