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What factors influence world literacy? is Africa different?

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  • Verner, Dorte

Abstract

Ninety-five percent of the world’s illiterate people live in developing countries, and about 70 percent are women. Female illiteracy rates are particularly high in Sub-Saharan Africa. In Niger and Burkina Faso, for example, more than 90 percent of women are illiterate. This paper presents a model of literacy. It shows that the main determinants of worldwide literacy are enrollment rates, average years of schooling of adults, and life expectancy at birth. Income has a weak nonlinear effect, negatively affecting literacy until a threshold level of per-capita income of about $2200 a year is reached and positively affecting literacy thereafter. Finally, African countries do not have a significantly higher literacy rate when controlling for other factors.

Suggested Citation

  • Verner, Dorte, 2005. "What factors influence world literacy? is Africa different?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3496, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3496
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Neuman, Shoshana & Weiss, Avi, 1995. "On the effects of schooling vintage on experience-earnings profiles: Theory and evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 943-955, May.
    2. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-1250.
    3. Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1991. "Cross-country studies of growth and policy : methodological, conceptual, and statistical problems," Policy Research Working Paper Series 608, The World Bank.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Ziesemer Thomas H.W., 2009. "Worker Remittances and Growth: The Physical and Human Capital Channels," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 229(6), pages 743-773, December.
    2. Ziesemer, Thomas H.W., 2012. "Worker remittances, migration, accumulation and growth in poor developing countries: Survey and analysis of direct and indirect effects," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 103-118.
    3. Eggen, Andrea & Bezemer, Dirk J, 2007. "Do Poverty Reduction Strategies Help Achieve The Millennium Development Goals?," MPRA Paper 7030, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Arusha Cooray (University of Wollongong), "undated". "Does Colonialism Exert a Long Term Economic Impact on Adult Literacy?," QEH Working Papers qehwps176, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.

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