Ethnicity, education, and earnings in Bolivia and Guatemala
Indigenous groups are often associated with poverty and so are low levels of education. Guatemala and Bolivia are the two Latin American countries in which the ethnic part of the population is proportionately greatest, with Bolivia being more schooled than Guatemala. So the author tried to determine how levels of ethnicity and education affect the level of worker earnings. His investigation was based on data from household surveys in the two countries. He found that, other things being equal, indigenous people who acquire more human capital enjoy greater economic rewards than those who acquire less. Just giving ethnic groups basic education is bound to improve their position. This finding was supported by both within country and cross-country evidence: indigenous people fare better in Bolivia (where there is more education) than in Guatemala (where there is less). One possible (although controversial) intervention is to provide schooling in the child's first language. Such an intervention has been successfully implemented on a small scale in Guatemala. Bilingual programs also exist, on a small scale, in Bolivia.
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- Psacharopoulos, George, 1989. "Time trends of the returns to education: Cross-national evidence," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 225-231, June.
- Sumner, Daniel A, 1981. "Wage Functions and Occupational Selection in a Rural Less Developed Country Setting," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 63(4), pages 513-519, November.
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