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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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Suggested Citation

  • Addison, Tony & Rahman, Aminur, 2001. "Why is so Little Spent on Educating the Poor?," WIDER Working Paper Series 029, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  • Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:dp2001-29

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Gruber, Lloyd & Kosack, Stephen, 2014. "The tertiary tilt: education and inequality in the developing world," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 54202, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    2. Gradstein, Mark, 2003. "The political economy of public spending on education, inequality, and growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3162, The World Bank.
    3. Michael Clemens, 2004. "The Long Walk to School: International Education Goals in Historical Perspective," Working Papers 37, Center for Global Development.
    4. Gruber, Lloyd & Kosack, Stephen, 2014. "The Tertiary Tilt: Education and Inequality in the Developing World," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 253-272.
    5. Haile, Daniel T., 2005. "Wealth Distribution, Lobbying and Economic Growth: Theory and Evidence," WIDER Working Paper Series 021, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

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    Poverty; Income distribution; Education; Development;


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