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Is knowledge shared within households?

  • Basu, Kaushik
  • Narayan, Ambar
  • Ravallion, Martin

According to theory, a member of a collective-action household may or may not share knowledge with others in that household. Shared income gains from shared knowledge may well be offset by a shift in the balance of power within the family. But do literate members of the household share the benefits of literacy with other members of the household in practice? Using household survey data for Bangladesh, the authors find that education has strong external effects on individual earnings. When a range of personal attributes is held constant, an illiterate adult earns significantly more in the non-farm economy when living in a household with at least one literate member. That is, a literate person is likely to share some of the benefits of his or her literacy with other members of the household. It is better to be an illiterate in a household where someone is literate than in a household of illiterates only. It is widely noted that a literate mother confers greater benefits on her children than a literate father does. But what about differences between male and female recipients of knowledge? The empirical results suggest that women are more efficient recipients, too.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2261.

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Date of creation: 31 Dec 1999
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2261
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  1. Quisumbing, Agnes R. & Maluccio, John A., 2000. "Intrahousehold allocation and gender relations," FCND discussion papers 84, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  2. Gibson, John, 2001. "Literacy and Intrahousehold Externalities," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 155-166, January.
  3. Ravallion, Martin & Wodon, Quentin, 1999. "Does child labor displace schooling? - evidence on behavioral responses to an enrollment subsidy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2116, The World Bank.
  4. Kaushik Basu, 1999. "Child Labor: Cause, Consequence, and Cure, with Remarks on International Labor Standards," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1083-1119, September.
  5. Udry, Christopher, 1996. "Gender, Agricultural Production, and the Theory of the Household," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 1010-46, October.
  6. Strauss, John & Thomas, Duncan, 1995. "Human resources: Empirical modeling of household and family decisions," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 34, pages 1883-2023 Elsevier.
  7. Basu, Kaushik & Foster, James E, 1998. "On Measuring Literacy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(451), pages 1733-49, November.
  8. 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 931-53, September.
  9. Strauss, J. & Thomas, D., 1995. "Empirical Modeling of Household and Family Decisions," Papers 95-12, RAND - Reprint Series.
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