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The effects of education on farmer productivity in rural Ethiopia

  • Sharada Weir

The Ethiopian education system is characterised by extremely low participation rates, particularly in rural areas. This paper challenges the hypothesis that demand for schooling in rural Ethiopia is constrained by the traditional nature of farm technology and lack of visible benefits of schooling in terms of farmer productivity. The effects of schooling upon farmer productivity and efficiency are examined employing both average production functions and two-stage stochastic frontier production functions. Data drawn from a large household survey conducted in 1994 were used to estimate internal and external benefits of schooling in 14 cereal-producing villages. Empirical analyses reveal substantial internal (private) benefits of schooling for farmer productivity, particularly in terms of efficiency gains. However, a threshold effect is identified: at least four years of primary schooling are required to have a significant effect upon farm productivity. Evidence of strong external (social) benefits of schooling was also uncovered, suggesting that there may be considerable opportunities to take advantage of external benefits of schooling in terms of increased farm productivity if school enrolments in rural areas are increased.

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Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number WPS/1999-07.

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Date of creation: 01 Mar 1999
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:wps/1999-07
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