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Africa’s Education Enigma? The Nigerian Story

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  • Uwaifo Oyelere, Ruth

    () (Morehouse College)

Abstract

In the last two decades, the social and economic benefits of formal education in Sub-Saharan Africa have been debated. Anecdotal evidence points to low returns to education in Africa. Unfortunately, there is limited econometric evidence to support these claims at the micro level. In this study, I focus on Nigeria a country that holds 1/5 of Africa’s population. I use instruments based on the exogenous timing of the implementation and withdrawal of free primary education across regions in this country to consistently estimate the returns to education in the late 1990s. The results show the average returns to education are particularly low in the 90s, in contrast to conventional wisdom for developing countries (2.8% for every extra year of schooling between 1997 and 1999). Surprisingly, I find no significant differences between OLS and IV estimates of returns to education when necessary controls are included in the wage equation. The low returns to education results shed new light on both the changes in demand for education in Nigeria and the increased emigration rates from African countries that characterized the 90s.

Suggested Citation

  • Uwaifo Oyelere, Ruth, 2007. "Africa’s Education Enigma? The Nigerian Story," IZA Discussion Papers 3097, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3097
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    Cited by:

    1. Quamrul H. Ashraf & David N. Weil & Joshua Wilde, 2013. "The Effect of Fertility Reduction on Economic Growth," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 39(1), pages 97-130, March.
    2. Jeremy D. Foltz & Ousman Gajigo, 2012. "Working Paper 145 - Assessing the Returns to Education in the Gambia," Working Paper Series 376, African Development Bank.
    3. Gregory N. Price & Juliet U. Elu, 2014. "Does regional currency integration ameliorate global macroeconomic shocks in sub-Saharan Africa? The case of the 2008-2009 global financial crisis," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 41(5), pages 737-750, September.
    4. Uwaifo Oyelere, Ruth, 2008. "Understanding Low Average Returns to Education in Africa: The Role of Heterogeneity across Education Levels and the Importance of Political and Economic Reforms," IZA Discussion Papers 3766, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Thomas Ferreira, 2018. "Does education enhance productivity in smallholder agriculture? Causal evidence from Malawi," Working Papers 05/2018, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    6. Elu Juliet U. & Price Gregory N., 2012. "Remittances and the Financing of Terrorism In Sub-Saharan Africa: 1974 - 2006," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 18(1), pages 1-42, July.
    7. Ozier,Owen, 2015. "The impact of secondary schooling in Kenya : a regression discontinuity analysis," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7384, The World Bank.
    8. Gonzalez, Naihobe & Oyelere, Ruth Uwaifo, 2011. "Are returns to education on the decline in Venezuela and does Mission Sucre have a role to play?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1348-1369.
    9. Girsberger, Esther Mirjam, 2017. "Migration, Education and Work Opportunities," IZA Discussion Papers 11028, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Manos Antoninis, 2012. "Tackling the largest global education challenge? Secular and religious education in northern Nigeria," CSAE Working Paper Series 2012-17, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    11. Jeremy D. Foltz & Ousman Gajigo, 2012. "Assessing the Returns to Education in The Gambia-super- †," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 21(4), pages 580-608, August.
    12. Manos Antoninis, 2012. "Tackling the largest global education challenge? Secular and religious education in northern Nigeria," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2012-17, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    13. Ruth UWAIFO OYELERE, 2010. "Disparities In The Benefits From Democratic Reform In Nigeria: A Gender Perspective," The Developing Economies, Institute of Developing Economies, vol. 48(3), pages 345-375.
    14. Ogundari, Kolawole, 2012. "Returns to Education Revisited and Effects of Education on Household Welfare in Nigeria," 2012 Conference, August 31, 2012, Nelson, New Zealand 136051, New Zealand Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    15. Uwaifo Oyelere, Ruth, 2015. ""A Flop or a Success?" An Evaluation of the Welfare Impacts of the 6-3-3-4 Education System in Nigeria," IZA Discussion Papers 9131, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    16. repec:bla:afrdev:v:29:y:2017:i:3:p:367-375 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Antoninis, Manos, 2014. "Tackling the Largest Global Education Challenge? Secular and Religious Education in Northern Nigeria," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 82-92.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Nigeria; instrumental variables; human capital; returns to education; schooling;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I29 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Other
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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