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Should We Be Concerned about the Distribution of Literacy across Households? An Axiomatic Investigation

  • Valenti, Paola

    (Cornell U)

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    This paper proposes a class of literacymeasures that takes into account the externality generated by the presence of literates in the household. It is claimed that such externality is increasing in the number of literates in the household, has characteristics of rivalry in consumption, and therefore is a function of the distribution of literates and illiterates in the household. The measure is given a full axiomatic characterization, and it is shown that its use may reverse the ranking of geographical areas obtained by using other literacy measures.

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    Paper provided by Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics in its series Working Papers with number 02-15.

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    Date of creation: Oct 2002
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    Handle: RePEc:ecl:corcae:02-15
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    1. Basu, Kaushik & Narayan, Ambar & Ravallion, Martin, 1999. "Is knowledge shared within households?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2261, The World Bank.
    2. Mitra, Tapan, 2002. "On Literacy Rankings," Working Papers 02-16, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
    3. Clark, Stephen & Hemming, Richard & Ulph, David, 1981. "On Indices for the Measurement of Poverty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 91(362), pages 515-26, June.
    4. Foster, James E, 1994. "Normative Measurement: Is Theory Relevant?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 365-70, May.
    5. Basu, Kaushik & Foster, James E., 1998. "On measuring literacy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1997, The World Bank.
    6. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
    7. Gibson, John, 2001. "Literacy and Intrahousehold Externalities," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 155-166, January.
    8. Duncan Thomas & John Strauss & Maria-Helena Henriques, 1991. "How Does Mother's Education Affect Child Height?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(2), pages 183-211.
    9. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-66, May.
    10. Atkinson, A B, 1987. "On the Measurement of Poverty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(4), pages 749-64, July.
    11. Sen, Amartya K, 1976. "Poverty: An Ordinal Approach to Measurement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(2), pages 219-31, March.
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