Does Schooling Make Sense?
A Household Perspective on the Returns to Schooling
for Self-Employed, Farmers & Employees in Egypt

By Mattias Lindgren
August 2005
Almqvist & Wiksell
ISBN: 9122021213
316 pages, Illustrated, 6 " x 8 "
$89.50 Paper Original

Why do some children in the developing world choose to stay out of school? Is it mainly because poverty leaves them with no options or because schooling seems to offer them few benefits? The answers to these questions have profound policy implications. An empirical input into this discussion is the extent to which schooling can actually be perceived as a profitable option in various countries and, in extension, what factors influence the extent of this perceived profitability.

When the usefulness of schooling is looked at from this perspective, some special considerations are motivated, as compared to when we look at the usefulness of schooling from the society's point of view. For example, we should consider all sectors that might be a relevant employment alternative for the individual, which for the developing world includes the self-employed in the agricultural sector, rather than only looking at the return to education for salaried workers, as is commonly done.

It might also be relevant to disaggregate the return for various degrees. Egypt is a country that has been characterized by a low and unequal educational attainment, although great progress has been made. Studies on the return to education in the country, for salaried labor, have indicated that the country also have been characterized by relatively low returns. This thesis utilizes the 1997 Egypt Integrated Household Survey to see to what extent the picture of low returns remains if we broaden and refine the analysis along the lines indicated above. We also examine the factors in the recent Egyptian history that can explain the observed pattern, as well as speculate on to what extent the pattern can explain development in the schooling attainment.

Economics; Education
Lund Studies in Economic History, No. 33

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