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Higher Education and Economic Development in Africa: a Review of Channels and Interactions

  • Francis Teal
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    While the numbers with completed tertiary level education are low in Africa, both relative to other countries and in absolute terms, they have been growing very rapidly.� Three questions are addressed in this paper.� The first is how higher education links to other forms of capital accumulation in a process that leads to economic growth.� The second is how higher education links to job outcomes in particular the role of the public sector and self-employment as outcomes for graduates.� The third is whether and how an expansion of skilled jobs can create its own demand.� The paper draws on both macro and micro evidence to answer those questions which are placed in a long run historical context.� It is argued that growth has been more closely linked to investment in physical capital than in education and this may well reflect the fact that education is most valuable when it is linked to technology which requires higher skills.� Data from thirty two African countries are used to show that the returns to education, measured both by macro production functions and by micro earning functions, are highest for those with higher levels of education.� A contrast is drawn between the role of higher education in providing access to public sector employment and the increasing importance of self-employment in Africa.� The paper concludes by asking whether Africa can use its investment in higher skilled labour to effect a service based growth revolution.

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    Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number CSAE WPS/2010-25.

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    Date of creation: 01 Aug 2010
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    Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:csae-wps/2010-25
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    Web page: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/
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    1. Francis Teal & Geeta Kingdon & Justin Sandefur, 2005. "Labor Market Flexibility, Wages and Incomes in sub-Saharan Africa in the 1990s," Economics Series Working Papers GPRG-WPS-030, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    2. Belzil, Christian & Hansen, Jörgen, 2002. "Unobserved Ability and the Return to Schooling," IZA Discussion Papers 508, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Jonathan Temple, 1999. "The New Growth Evidence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 112-156, March.
    4. Francis Teal & Justin Sandefur, 2010. "The Returns to Formality and Informality in Urban Africa," Economics Series Working Papers CSAE WPS/2010-03, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    5. Francis Teal & Måns Söderbom & Neil Rankin, 2005. "Exporting from manufacturing firms in Sub-Saharan Africa," Economics Series Working Papers GPRG-WPS-036, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    6. Barro, Robert J & Lee, Jong-Wha, 2001. "International Data on Educational Attainment: Updates and Implications," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 541-63, July.
    7. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1990. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3541, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. G Johnes, 2006. "Education and economic growth," Working Papers 577341, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    9. Peter J. Klenow & Mark Bils, 2000. "Does Schooling Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1160-1183, December.
    10. Mikael Lindahl & Alan B. Krueger, 2001. "Education for Growth: Why and for Whom?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1101-1136, December.
    11. Geeta Gandhi Kingdon & Jeemol Unni, 2001. "Education and Women's Labour Market Outcomes in India," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(2), pages 173-195.
    12. Bennell, Paul, 1996. "Rates of return to education: Does the conventional pattern prevail in sub-Saharan Africa?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 183-199, January.
    13. Jean Luc De Meulemeester & Denis Rochat, 1995. "A causality analysis of the link between higher education and economic development," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/1573, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    14. Daron Acemoglu, 1999. "Changes in Unemployment and Wage Inequality: An Alternative Theory and Some Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1259-1278, December.
    15. Trostel, Philip & Walker, Ian & Woolley, Paul, 2002. "Estimates of the economic return to schooling for 28 countries," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 1-16, February.
    16. Barro, Robert J. & Lee, Jong-Wha, 1993. "International comparisons of educational attainment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 363-394, December.
    17. Duraisamy, P., 2000. "Changes in Returns to Education in India, 1983-94: By Gender, Age-Cohort and Location," Papers 815, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
    18. Robert J. Barro & Jong-Wha Lee, 2010. "A New Data Set of Educational Attainment in the World, 1950-2010," NBER Working Papers 15902, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Introduction to "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings"," NBER Chapters, in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 1-4 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Dale T. Mortensen, 2005. "Wage Dispersion: Why Are Similar Workers Paid Differently?," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262633191, June.
    21. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc74-1, January.
    22. Neil Rankin & Justin Sandefur & Francis Teal, 2010. "Learning & Earning in Africa: Where are the Returns to Education High?," CSAE Working Paper Series 2010-02, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    23. Kwabena Gyimah-Brempong & Oliver Paddison & Workie Mitiku, 2006. "Higher education and economic growth in Africa," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(3), pages 509-529.
    24. Psacharopoulos, George, 1994. "Returns to investment in education: A global update," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 22(9), pages 1325-1343, September.
    25. Card, David, 2001. "Estimating the Return to Schooling: Progress on Some Persistent Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(5), pages 1127-60, September.
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