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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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    File URL: http://www.csae.ox.ac.uk/workingpapers/pdfs/2010-25text.pdf
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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/Email:


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    2. 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.
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    7. 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.
    8. 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.
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    19. Peter J. Klenow & Mark Bils, 2000. "Does Schooling Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1160-1183, December.
    20. Francis Teal & Justin Sandefur & Neil Rankin, 2010. "Learning; Earning in Africa: Where are the Returns to Education High?," Economics Series Working Papers CSAE WPS/2010-02, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    21. 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.
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    23. Psacharopoulos, George, 1993. "Returns to investment in education : a global update," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1067, The World Bank.
    24. 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.
    25. G Johnes, 2006. "Education and economic growth," Working Papers 577341, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
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