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Education and the Poverty Trap in Rural China

  • John Knight
  • Li Shi
  • Deng Quheng

This is an attempt to view the relationships involving education and income as forming a system, and one that can generate a poverty trap.� The setting is rural China, and the data are from a national household survey for 2002, designed with research hypotheses in mind.� Enrolment is high in rural China by comparison with most poor rural societies, but the quality of education varies greatly.� There are three main strands to the paper.� One examines the determinants of enrolment, and finds that poverty has an adverse effect on both the quality and quantity of education - so contributing to a poverty trap.� The second examines the effects of education.� It shows how and why the returns to education vary according to household and community income - so also contributing to a poverty trap.� The third strand brings no fewer than 17 estimated relationships together as a system, and poses the question: can education break the vicious circle of poverty?� The implications for poverty analysis and for educational policy are considered.

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Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number WPS/2008-02.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2008
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:wps/2008-02
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  1. Geeta G. Kingdon & John Knight, 2003. "Well-being poverty versus income poverty and capabilities poverty?," CSAE Working Paper Series 2003-16, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  2. Song, Lina & Appleton, Simon & Knight, John, 2006. "Why Do Girls in Rural China Have Lower School Enrollment?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(9), pages 1639-1653, September.
  3. repec:att:wimass:9127 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Boissiere, M & Knight, J B & Sabot, R H, 1985. "Earnings, Schooling, Ability, and Cognitive Skills," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(5), pages 1016-30, December.
  5. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
  6. Gustafsson, Bjorn & Li, Shi, 2004. "Expenditures on education and health care and poverty in rural China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 292-301.
  7. Sharada Weir & John Knight, 2007. "Production Externalities of Education: Evidence from Rural Ethiopia," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 16(1), pages 134-165, January.
  8. de Brauw, Alan & Giles, John, 2008. "Migrant opportunity and the educational attainment of youth in rural China," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4526, The World Bank.
  9. Schultz, Theodore W, 1975. "The Value of the Ability to Deal with Disequilibria," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 827-46, September.
  10. Knight, John & Song, Lina, 2006. "Towards a Labour Market in China," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199215553, March.
  11. Weir, Sharada & Knight, John, 2004. "Externality Effects of Education: Dynamics of the Adoption and Diffusion of an Innovation in Rural Ethiopia," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(1), pages 93-113, October.
  12. Connelly, Rachel & Zheng, Zhenzhen, 2003. "Determinants of school enrollment and completion of 10 to 18 year olds in China," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 379-388, August.
  13. Yang, Dennis Tao, 2000. "Education and Allocative Efficiency: Household Income Growth during Rural Reforms in China," Working Papers 00-17, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  14. Knight, John & Li, Shi, 1996. "Educational Attainment and the Rural--Urban Divide in China," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 58(1), pages 83-117, February.
  15. Knight, J. & Shi, L., 1996. "Cumulative Causation and Inequality Among Villages in China," Economics Series Working Papers 99186, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  16. John Knight & Sharada Weir & Tassew Woldehanna, 2003. "The role of education in facilitating risk-taking and innovation in agriculture," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(6), pages 1-22.
  17. Adriaan R. Soetevent, 2006. "Empirics of the Identification of Social Interactions; An Evaluation of the Approaches and Their Results ," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(2), pages 193-228, 04.
  18. Brown, Philip H. & Park, Albert, 2002. "Education and poverty in rural China," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 523-541, December.
  19. Li, Tianyou & Zhang, Junsen, 1998. "Returns to education under collective and household farming in China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 307-335, August.
  20. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2004. "How Important is Methodology for the estimates of the determinants of Happiness?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 641-659, 07.
  21. Manski, Charles F, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 531-42, July.
  22. Phillips, Joseph M, 1994. "Farmer Education and Farmer Efficiency: A Meta-Analysis," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(1), pages 149-65, October.
  23. West, Loraine A & Wong, Christine P W, 1995. "Fiscal Decentralization and Growing Regional Disparities in Rural China: Some Evidence in the Provision of Social Services," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(4), pages 70-84, Winter.
  24. John Knight & Li Shi, 1999. "Fiscal decentralization: Incentives, redistribution and reform in China," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(1), pages 5-32.
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