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Is Knowledge Shared within Households? Theory and Evidence for Bangladesh


  • Kaushik Basu
  • Ambar Narayan
  • Martin Ravallion

    (World Bank)


A member of a collective-action household may or may not share knowledge with others in that household. Shared income gains from shared knowledge may well be offset by a shift in the balance of power within the family. Using household survey data for Bangladesh we find strong external effects of education on individual earnings. Holding a range of personal attributes constant, an illiterate adult earns significantly more in the non-farm economy when living in a family with at least one literate member. These effects are strongest, and most robust, for women. Omitted-variable bias cannot be ruled out, but would also be consistent with an intra-household externality of literacy.

Suggested Citation

  • Kaushik Basu & Ambar Narayan & Martin Ravallion, 2001. "Is Knowledge Shared within Households? Theory and Evidence for Bangladesh," Working Papers 82, Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore.
  • Handle: RePEc:sch:wpaper:82

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kaushik Basu, 1999. "Child Labor: Cause, Consequence, and Cure, with Remarks on International Labor Standards," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1083-1119, September.
    2. Ranjan, Priya, 2001. "Credit constraints and the phenomenon of child labor," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 81-102, February.
    3. Ray, Ranjan, 2000. "Child Labor, Child Schooling, and Their Interaction with Adult Labor: Empirical Evidence for Peru and Pakistan," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 14(2), pages 347-367, May.
    4. Basu, Kaushik & Van, Pham Hoang, 1998. "The Economics of Child Labor," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 412-427, June.
    5. Carol Ann Rogers & Kenneth A. Swinnerton, 1999. "The Economics of Child Labor: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1382-1385, December.
    6. Luis Felipe López Calva, 2002. "A social stigma model of child labor," Estudios Económicos, El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Económicos, vol. 17(2), pages 193-217.
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    Cited by:

    1. Deshpande, Ashwini & Desrochers, Alain & Ksoll, Christopher & Shonchoy, Abu S., 2017. "The Impact of a Computer-based Adult Literacy Program on Literacy and Numeracy: Evidence from India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 451-473.

    More about this item


    Household behaviour; Literacy; Externalities; Income; Bangladesh;

    JEL classification:

    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials


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