Does Education Represent a Social Protection for Lifetime in Sub-Saharan Africa?

Background paper to the ERD 2010


Daniele Checchi, University of Milan and Centro Luca D’Agliano
Angelica Salvi, Centro Luca D’Agliano


Paper prepared for the Conference on “Promoting Resilience through Social Protection in Sub-Saharan Africa”, organised by the European Report of Development in Dakar, Senegal, 28-30 June, 2010.


We provide evidence on the distribution of school attendance and educational attainment across African countries, focusing on the correlation with literacy rates in the population, level of resources and country institutional features. We also estimate sample correlations between enrolment and macro-aggregates, related to resources (GDP per capita, student/teacher ratio), computing some counterfactuals. We then move to micro-data, selecting three African countries as representative examples of low (Mauritania), middle (Uganda) and high (Ghana) educational attainment. Using social surveys conducted in these countries, we estimate the returns to education in terms of better quality of employment (for those who are in the labour
market) and of higher monetary returns (for the sub-sample of those earning a monetary wage). In addition, we collapse the data at household level, in order to study the determinants of individual educational attainment of children aged between 5 and 25, in order to show the correlation between parental education, availability of schools at community level, external shocks (like drought, famine, war) and the individual probability of being in school.

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