IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/wbk/wbrwps/1997.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

On measuring literacy

Author

Listed:
  • Basu, Kaushik*Foster, James E.

Abstract

The authors present a new approach to evaluating the level of effective literacy in a region or country, one that takes into account the presence in a household of a literate person. They characterize the approach and give an empirical illustration of its use. They designed the new measures of literacy because traditional measures of the literacy rate (R) ignore how the presence of literate person in the household affects literacy. They contend that literate household members generate a positive externality -- a kind of public good - for illiterate members. They believe their new measures will be superior to R in predicting or explaining other achievements that depend on literacy. They expect the rate of diffusion of a new technology for farming, for example, to be more closely linked to the effective literacy rate than to the usual literacy rate. If an agricultural extension worker leaves behind a brochure explaining how to plant and care for high-yielding varieties, an illiterate person who lives in a household with at least one literate member has access to that public good; an isolated illiterate - whose household has not literate members - may not have. Similarly, if the presence ( or absence) of one literate household member increases the chance of a child becoming literate, so the effective literacy rate should be a better predictor of future generations'literacy rate should be a better predictor of future generations'literacy levels. Some changes in policy emphasis might be expected if the new effective literacy measures are used. There might be a shift, for example, toward ensuring a better distribution of literacy across households or toward addressing more seriously the problem of female illiteracy. More work is needed to determine if a child in a household with a higher percentage of literate adults has more frequent access to literacy skills.

Suggested Citation

  • Basu, Kaushik*Foster, James E., 1998. "On measuring literacy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1997, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1997
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/838991468750545024/pdf/multi-page.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-766, May.
    2. Coulter, Fiona A E & Cowell, Frank A & Jenkins, Stephen P, 1992. "Differences in Needs and Assessment of Income Distributions," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(2), pages 77-124, April.
    3. Durlauf, Steven N., 1994. "Spillovers, stratification, and inequality," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(3-4), pages 836-845, April.
    4. Borjas, George J, 1995. "Ethnicity, Neighborhoods, and Human-Capital Externalities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 365-390, June.
    5. Deaton,Angus & Muellbauer,John, 1980. "Economics and Consumer Behavior," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521296762, February.
    6. Mark Rosenzweig & Andrew D. Foster, 1996. "Household Division, Inequality and Rural Economic Growth," Home Pages _074, University of Pennsylvania.
    7. Foster, Andrew D & Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1996. "Technical Change and Human-Capital Returns and Investments: Evidence from the Green Revolution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 931-953, September.
    8. Sen, Amartya K, 1976. "Poverty: An Ordinal Approach to Measurement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(2), pages 219-231, March.
    9. Clark, Stephen & Hemming, Richard & Ulph, David, 1981. "On Indices for the Measurement of Poverty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 91(362), pages 515-526, June.
    10. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
    11. Coulter, Fiona A E & Cowell, Frank A & Jenkins, Stephen P, 1992. "Equivalence Scale Relativities and the Extent of Inequality and Poverty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(414), pages 1067-1082, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Makdissi, Paul & Groleau, Yves, 2002. "Que pouvons-nous apprendre des profils de pauvreté canadiens?," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 78(2), pages 257-286, Juin.
    2. James Foster & Joel Greer & Erik Thorbecke, 2010. "The Foster–Greer–Thorbecke (FGT) poverty measures: 25 years later," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 8(4), pages 491-524, December.
    3. Kristof Bosmans & Lucio Esposito & Peter Lambert, 2011. "New perspectives on a more-or-less familiar poverty index," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 36(2), pages 241-247, February.
    4. Srinivas Goli & Nagendra Kumar Maurya & Moradhvaj & Prem Bhandari, 2019. "Regional Differentials in Multidimensional Poverty in Nepal: Rethinking Dimensions and Method of Computation," SAGE Open, , vol. 9(1), pages 21582440198, March.
    5. Reddy, S. R. C. & Chakravarty, S. P., 1999. "Forest Dependence and Income Distribution in a Subsistence Economy: Evidence from India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(7), pages 1141-1149, July.
    6. James E. Foster & Joel Greer & Erik Thorbecke, 2010. "The Foster-Greer-Thorbecke (FGT) Poverty Measures: Twenty-Five Years Later," Working Papers 2010-14, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
    7. Liyanaarachchi, Tilak S. & Naranpanawa, Athula & Bandara, Jayatilleke S., 2016. "Impact of trade liberalisation on labour market and poverty in Sri Lanka. An integrated macro-micro modelling approach," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 102-115.
    8. Jean–Yves Duclos & Phillipe Grégoire, 2002. "Absolute and Relative Deprivation and the Measurement of Poverty," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 48(4), pages 471-492, December.
    9. Salvatore Morelli & Timothy Smeeding & Jeffrey Thompson, 2014. "Post-1970 Trends in Within-Country Inequality and Poverty: Rich and Middle Income Countries," CSEF Working Papers 356, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    10. Valenti, Paola, 2002. "Should We Be Concerned about the Distribution of Literacy across Households? An Axiomatic Investigation," Working Papers 02-15, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
    11. Dipesh Gangopadhyay & Robert B. Nielsen & Velma Zahirovic-Herbert, 2021. "Methodology and Axiomatic Characterization of a Multidimensional and Fuzzy Measure of Deprivation," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 153(1), pages 1-37, January.
    12. Nanak Kakwani, 1986. "Income Inequality, Welfare and Poverty in a Developing Economy with Applications to Sri Lanka," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-1986-004, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    13. Kakwani, Nanak, 1995. "Income inequality, welfare, and poverty : an illustration using Ukranian data," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1411, The World Bank.
    14. Mohamed Ayadi & Mohamed Salah Matoussi & Maria-Pia Victoria-Feser, 2001. "Putting Robust Statistical Methods into Practice: Poverty Analysis in Tunisia," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 137(III), pages 463-482, September.
    15. Pérez Moreno, Salvador, 2009. "El estudio de la pobreza en España desde una óptica económica: medición y políticas /The Study of Poverty in Spain from an Economic Perspective: Measurement and Policies," Estudios de Economia Aplicada, Estudios de Economia Aplicada, vol. 27, pages 349-372, Agosto.
    16. Chakravarty, Satya R. & Deutsch, Joseph & Silber, Jacques, 2008. "On the Watts Multidimensional Poverty Index and its Decomposition," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(6), pages 1067-1077, June.
    17. Oihana Aristondo & Casilda Lasso De La Vega & Ana Urrutia, 2010. "A New Multiplicative Decomposition For The Foster–Greer–Thorbecke Poverty Indices," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(3), pages 259-267, July.
    18. Duclos, Jean-Yves & Araar, Abdelkrim & Giles, John, 2010. "Chronic and transient poverty: Measurement and estimation, with evidence from China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 266-277, March.
    19. Russell Davidson & Jean-Yves Duclos, 2000. "Statistical Inference for Stochastic Dominance and for the Measurement of Poverty and Inequality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(6), pages 1435-1464, November.
    20. Vito Peragine & Ernesto Savaglio & Stefano Vannucci, 2008. "Poverty Rankings of Opportunity Profiles," Department of Economics University of Siena 548, Department of Economics, University of Siena.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1997. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/dvewbus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Roula I. Yazigi (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/dvewbus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.