Friday, February 23, 2007

Education in Poor Countries

Two new pieces of development economics research on what improves education in poor countries were presented at LSE recently.

Andrabi, Das, and Khwaja (2007) focus on the supply side of education, and find that, in Pakistani districts, private schools are more likely to be set up if public secondary schools are already there. They argue that this is because public secondary schools increase the number of educated women who can become teachers. It suggests the importance of the supply of teachers to expand access to school.

Bjorkman (2007), on the other hand, looks at the demand side. She finds that gender gap in primary school enrolment in rural areas of Uganda shrinks when it rains more than usual (I think Figure 9 in the paper is a nice presentation of this finding). Ugandan farmers grow banana or coffee, both of which are rain-fed. Her finding indicates that poverty is the main driver of gender gap in school attendance, often found in developing countries.

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