The Primacy of Education

Anne Case

in Understanding Poverty

Published in print May 2006 | ISBN: 9780195305197
Published online September 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199783519 | DOI:
 The Primacy of Education

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Many economists believe that education is key to economic development. The first section of this essay highlights what is known about the role of education in three interrelated areas: income generation, health status, and fertility. It discusses reasons why measuring the impact of education is difficult, and presents the best current estimates for the effects of education in these important areas. In bringing education to people in the developing world, an understanding of which school inputs are most effective and at what levels of education is paramount. The second half of the essay discusses why little is known about which inputs are most effective, and contrasts different approaches to assessing the impact of school inputs. The essay concludes with a discussion of programs that promise to be more successful in helping governments and policy makers decide how best to invest in human capital.

Keywords: economic development; income generation; health; fertility; educational production; school intervention programs; India; Mexico

Chapter.  7138 words. 

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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