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Education and the Poverty Trap in Rural China

  • John Knight
  • Li Shi
  • Deng Quheng

This is an 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.

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Paper provided by Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford in its series CSAE Working Paper Series with number 2008-02.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2008-02
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  1. de Brauw, Alan & Giles, John T., 2006. "Migrant Opportunity and the Educational Attainment of Youth in Rural China," IZA Discussion Papers 2326, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. 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.
  3. Knight, J. & Shi, L., 1996. "Cumulative Causation and Inequality Among Villages in China," Economics Series Working Papers 99186, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  4. Manski, Charles F, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 531-42, July.
  5. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
  6. Brown, Philip H. & Park, Albert, 2002. "Education and poverty in rural China," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 523-541, December.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Knight, John & Song, Lina, 1995. "Towards a Labour Market in China," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(4), pages 97-117, Winter.
  11. 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, 07.
  12. Adriaan R. Soetevent, 2006. "Empirics of the Identification of Social Interactions; An Evaluation of the Approaches and Their Results ," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(2), pages 193-228, 04.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Gustafsson, Bjorn & Li, Shi, 2004. "Expenditures on education and health care and poverty in rural China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 292-301.
  16. West, Loraine A & Wong, Christine P W, 1995. "Fiscal Decentralization and Growing Regional Disparities in Rural China: Some Evidence in the Provision of Social Services," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(4), pages 70-84, Winter.
  17. Yang, Dennis Tao, 2000. "Education and Allocative Efficiency: Household Income Growth during Rural Reforms in China," Working Papers 00-17, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  18. Schultz, Theodore W, 1975. "The Value of the Ability to Deal with Disequilibria," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 827-46, September.
  19. 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 1016-30, December.
  20. Phillips, Joseph M, 1994. "Farmer Education and Farmer Efficiency: A Meta-Analysis," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(1), pages 149-65, October.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
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