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Isolated and Proximate Illiteracy And Why these Concepts Matter in Measuring Literacy and Designing Education Programmes

  • Kaushik Basu
  • James E.Foster

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Vanderbilt University)

  • S. Subramanian

Traditionally, a society's literacy has been measured by the 'literacy rate' or the percent of the adult population that is literate. The present paper maintains that the distribution on literates across households also matters, due to the external effects of literacy - the benefits that illiterate members of a household derive from having a literate person in the family. The authors review this argument, draw out its policy implications and present some suggestive data from Bangladesh to lend substance to the hypothesis that an illiterate belonging to a household with no literates in more deprived than an illiterate belonging to a household with at least one literate member.

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File URL: http://www.accessecon.com/pubs/VUECON/vu00-w02.pdf
File Function: First version, 2000
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Paper provided by Vanderbilt University Department of Economics in its series Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers with number 0002.

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Date of creation: Jan 2000
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Handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:0002
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/econ/wparchive/index.html

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  1. Basu, Kaushik & Foster, James E., 1998. "On measuring literacy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1997, The World Bank.
  2. Basu, Kaushik & Narayan, Ambar & Ravallion, Martin, 1999. "Is knowledge shared within households?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2261, The World Bank.
  3. Gibson, John, 2001. "Literacy and Intrahousehold Externalities," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 155-166, January.
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