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Education Ideas in Economic Development

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The economic growth of a nation depends upon human capital. As economies grow, returns to education also typically grow. As we move from traditional agrarian economies to more diversified and complex economies, the advantages to an individual from education rises.

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									Macroeconomics

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                                                                                           Subject: Macroeconomics


Education Ideas in Economic Development
The economic growth of a nation depends upon human capital. As economies grow, returns to
education also typically grow. As we move from traditional agrarian economies to more diversified
and complex economies, the advantages to an individual from education rises.

So if we want a nation’s poor to benefit from growth, improving their educational outcomes is their
key. This leads us to one of the central preoccupations of development economists in the last
decade or so: Of the many investments one could make in education, which have the highest
payoffs? Is it better to invest in more books or more teachers? How much does the quality of
teachers matter? Are investments most important in the first years of education or later? In a world
with limited resources in which educational outcomes are very important, getting the right answers
to these questions is vital.

For most middle-class American students, it may come as a surprise that in the developing world,
teacher absenteeism is a serious problem. A recent study led by researchers from the World Bank
found, for example, that on an average day, 27 percent of Ugandan and 25 percent of Indian
teachers are not at work. Across six poor countries, teacher absences averaged 19 percent.

The Poverty Research Lab has conducted a number of experiments in a range of developing
countries to see how one might reduce these absences. The most successful intervention was
introduced in Rajasthan, India, by an NGO called SevaMandir. Each day when he or she arrived,
the teachers in half of SevaMandir’s 160-single teacher schools were asked to have their picture
taken with the children. Cameras were date-stamped. This evidence of attendance fed into the
compensation of the teacher. Teacher absentee rates were cut in half relative to the seemingly
identical classrooms in which no cameras were introduced. Student absenteeism is also a problem
throughout the developing world, reducing educational outcomes even when schools are well
staffed with qualified teachers.

Several countries, including Mexico, have introduced cash payments to parents for sending their
children to school regularly. Since the Mexican government introduced these payments over time,
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                                                                                           Subject: Macroeconomics
in ways not likely to be related to educational outcomes, researchers could compare student
absenteeism across seemingly identical areas with and without the cash incentives as a form of
natural experiment. There is some evidence that cash payments do increase school attendance.

Natural experiments have also been used to look at the effect of industrialization that improves
educational returns as a way to induce better school attendance; the results have been positive.
Work using experiments, both natural and random, is still at an early stage in development
economics. While many reform ideas have proven helpful in improving educational outcomes in
different developing countries, it has proven hard up to now to find simple answers that work
across the globe.




                    Macroeconomics Homework Help from Classof1.com
    *The Homework solutions from Classof1 are intended to help students understand the approach to solving the problem and not for
                                 submitting the same in lieu of their academic submissions for grades.
                                                                                            Subject: Macroeconomics
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