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Are There Gender-Separate Education Effects on Growth?

By Boopen Seetanah | Fall 2006

Introduction: There has been an important amount of empirical work on the economic importance of gender-neutral education. Overall there exists a consensus that education attainment has a positive and significant effect on economic growth thus confirming the theoretical predictions. However studies on the gender separate education effects on economic progress have largely ignored until recently even, then there exists a great deal of contradictory evidences. For instance Barro and Lee (1994) find that growth is positively related to male education and negatively related to female education. Caselli, Esquivel and Lefort (1996), however, find the opposite, while Birdsall, Ross and Sabot (1997) report no significant difference between the genders.

Moreover, among this scarce amount of studies, the large majority have been based on cross country and panel data analysis and focused on developed countries cases. Studies on country specific cases using rigorous time series analysis, especially for developing countries, have been particularly lacking. More importantly, to our knowledge, no study has been performed for the case of small island developing states and we should take into account the fact that empirical findings from developed countries’ cases are not directly applicable and relevant to island states given their vulnerability and special characteristics and. Moreover, it is only lately that scholars have been implicitly dealing with the issue of reverse causality and dynamics in the education and economic growth link.

The aim of this paper is to fill the above gaps and to investigate the empirical link between gender separate education and economic progress for the case of the small island developing state of Mauritius. It allows for dynamic and feedback effects in the education-growth link, an issue often been ignored, by using a multivariate dynamic estimation technique, namely a difference vector autoregressive framework for the period 1960-2000

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Read More: Development, Education, Gender, Mauritius

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