19 September 2013

Where has all the education impact come from?

Lant Pritchett wrote an important paper back in 2000 called "Where has all the education gone." Despite a big increase in schooling in developing countries, there had been little increase on average in productivity.

Now I feel like we have the opposite problem - evidence that going to school has all sorts of wonderful impacts transforming lives

(- saves lives
- improves child nutrition
- increases job opportunities
- reduces child marriage
- reduces early birth
- makes people more tolerant
- leads to economic growth
- leads to more concern with the environment)

alongside evidence that many kids never actually learnt anything at school.

What's the deal? Are the positive impacts driven entirely by the kids who did learn something (the average treatment effect on both learners and non-learners), or is there something special and intangible (non-cognitive skills and character?) which kids can pick up from just sitting in a school even if they don't pick up any reading skills?

Any evidence?

5 comments:

rovingbandit said...

Good point - there is quite a lot of new attention on the importance of "noncognitive skills" or "character" such as grit, curiosity, and perseverance ( http://www.amazon.co.uk/How-Children-Succeed-Curiosity-Character/dp/1452608148) - though I don't think there is a lot of research in developing countries on what if anything average schools do to these traits.

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