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Why is so Little Spent on Educating the Poor?

  • Addison, Tony
  • Rahman, Aminur

If the poor are to benefit from economic growth, then they need the skills that are in growing demand, and the capacity to raise their productivity as smallholder farmers and micro-entrepreneurs. Yet, the poor seldom receive a satisfactory education. Too little is spent on primary education—the category of education of most direct benefit to the poor—while on average public subsidies to secondary education are roughly three times as high as subsidies to primary education, and subsidies to tertiary education are thirty times as high. In consequence, the higher income deciles benefit disproportionately from public spending on education—the share of the richest income quintile (28%) is roughly double that of poorest income quintile (13%) across countries [DIscussion Paper No. 2001/29].

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Paper provided by World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER) in its series Working Paper Series with number UNU-WIDER Research Paper DP2001/29.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:dp2001-29
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  1. repec:hoo:wpaper:e-95-6 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser, 1995. "Are Ghettos Good or Bad?," NBER Working Papers 5163, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Durlauf, Steven N, 1996. "A Theory of Persistent Income Inequality," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 75-93, March.
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  8. Ted Miguel, 1999. "Ethnic diversity, mobility and school funding: theory and evidence from Kenya," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 6675, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  9. Alberto Alesina & Enrico Spolaore, 1995. "On the Number and Size of Nations," NBER Working Papers 5050, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Castro-Leal, Florencia & Dayton, Julia & Demery, Lionel & Mehra, Kalpana, 1999. "Public Social Spending in Africa: Do the Poor Benefit?," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 14(1), pages 49-72, February.
  11. Cutler, David M & Elmendorf, Douglas W & Zeckhauser, Richard J, 1993. "Demographic Characteristics and the Public Bundle," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 48(Supplemen), pages 178-98.
  12. Dixit, Avinash & Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1997. "Common Agency and Coordination: General Theory and Application to Government Policy Making," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(4), pages 752-69, August.
  13. Roland Bénabou, 1996. "Equity and Efficiency in Human Capital Investment: The Local Connection," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(2), pages 237-264.
  14. Paul Collier, 2001. "Implications of ethnic diversity," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 16(32), pages 127-166, 04.
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