Education and country growth models

Gustafsson, Martin Anders (2014-04)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The over-arching concern of the three parts of the dissertation is how economics can and should influence education policymaking, the emphasis on the economics side being models of country development and the contribution made by human capital. Part I begins with a review of economic growth theory. How educational performance and country development have been measured is then discussed, with considerable attention going towards conceptual and measurement complexities associated with the latter. An approach is presented for expanding the number of countries whose educational quality can be compared, by expanding the number of linkable testing programmes. This approach, which above all allows for the inclusion of more African and Latin American countries, is one of the key contributions made by the dissertation to the existing body of knowledge. Three existing empirical growth models are examined, including work by Hanushek and Woessman on the relationship between educational quality and income. Part I ends with a discussion on how the economics literature can best be packaged to influence education policymaking. A ‘growth simulator’ tool in Excel for informing the policy discourse is presented. The production of this tool includes establishing empirically a feasible improvement trajectory for educational quality that policymakers can use and some analysis of how linguistic fractionalisation in a country evolves over time. This tool can be considered a further key output of the dissertation. A basic model for relating educational quality, via income growth, to teacher pay, is presented. Part II offers an analysis of UNESCO country-level data on enrolment and spending going back to 1970, with a view to establishing historical patterns that can inform education planners, particularly those in developing countries, on how budgets and enrolment expansion should be distributed across the levels of the education system. The analysis presented in Part II represents a novel way of using existing countrylevel data and can be seen as an important step towards filling a gap experienced by education policymakers, namely the paucity of empirical evidence that can guide decisions around the prioritisation of education levels. Part II moreover arrives at a few empirical findings, including the finding that enrolment and spending patterns have been systematically different in countries with faster economic growth and the finding that historical per student spending at the secondary level appears to play a larger role in development than was previously thought. Part III contrasts the available economic advice for education policymakers with what policymakers actually appear to believe in. The focus falls, in particular, on four developing countries: South Africa, Brazil, Chile and China. A few areas where economists could explore the data to a greater degree or communicate available findings differently, in the interests of better education policies, are identified. Part III partly serves as a demonstration of how comparisons between education systems can be better oriented towards providing advice to education policymakers on questions relating to efficiency and equity.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die oorkoepelende fokus van die drie gedeeltes van die verhandeling is hoe die studie van ekonomie beleid in die onderwyssektor kan en moet beïnvloed. Veral belangrik is modelle van die ekonomiese groei van lande en die rol van menslike kapitaal in hierdie modelle. Die eerste gedeelte van die verhandeling bied oorsig van die teorie rakende ekonomiese groei. Hoe onderwysprestasie en nasionale ontwikkeling gemeet word, word dan bespreek, met sterk fokus op die konseptuele en tegniese kompleksiteit van laasgenoemde. Metode word aangebied waardeur meer lande se onderwysgehalte vergelyk kan word, deur middel van die koppeling van data van groter aantal toetsprogramme. Hierdie metode, wat veral die insluiting van meer lande uit Afrika en Latyn-Amerika toelaat, is een van die kernbydraes van die verhandeling tot die bestaande korpus van kennis. Drie bestaande empiriese modelle van ekonomiese groei word geanaliseer, insluitende die werk van Hanushek en Woessman oor die verhouding tussen onderwysgehalte en inkomste. Die eerste gedeelte sluit af met bespreking oor hoe die ekonomiese literatuur optimaal aangebied kan word om beleidmaking in die onderwys te beïnvloed. Groei-simulasie hulpmiddel in Excel wat die beleidsdiskoers kan vergemaklik word aangebied en verduidelik. Die ontwikkeling van hierdie gereedskap maak dit moontlik om op empiriese basis moontlike trajek vir die verbetering van onderwysgehalte te bepaal, wat vir beleidsmakers nuttig kan wees, sowel as ontleding van hoe linguïstiese verbrokkeling in land histories kan ontwikkel. Hierdie gereedskap kan as verdere sleutelproduk van die verhandeling beskou work. Basiese model van hoe onderwysgehalte en die inkomste van onderwysers deur middel van ekonomiese groei gekoppel is, word ook aangebied. Die tweede gedeelte van die verhandeling bied ontleding van UNESCO se nasionale statistieke van lande oor skoolinskrywings en onderwysuitgawes vanaf 1970, met die oog op die identifikasie van belangrike historiese tendense vir onderwysbeplanners, veral in ontwikkelende lande. Die fokus hier is veral op hoe begrotings en inskrywings ideaal oor die verskillende vlakke van die onderwysstelsel versprei behoort te wees. Die ontleding in die tweede gedeelte verteenwoordig innoverende manier om die bestaande nasionale statistieke te gebruik en kan beskou word as belangrike stap om gaping te vul wat deur beleidsmakers in die onderwys ondervind word, naamlik die gebrek aan empiriese gegewens vir besluite oor prioritisering tussen onderwysvlakke. Die tweede gedeelte bied ook verskeie empiriese bevindinge, soos dat die tendense rakende inskrywings en besteding per student sistematies tussen lande met vinniger ekonomiese groei en ander lande verskil, asook dat historiese besteding per student op die sekondêre vlak blykbaar groter invloed op ontwikkeling het as wat vroeër gedink is. Die derde gedeelte van die verhandeling vergelyk die advies wat die ekonomiese literatuur aan beleidmakers in die onderwys bied met wat beleidmakers self blykbaar glo. Die fokus val op veral vier ontwikkelende lande: Suid-Afrika, Brasilië, Chili en China. Gebiede word bespreek waar ekonome in die belang van beter onderwysbeleid tot groter mate data kan analiseer of bevindings op beter maniere kan kommunikeer. Die derde gedeelte kan beskou word as demonstrasie van hoe vergelykings tussen verskeie onderwysstelsels beter georiënteer kan word om vir die beleidmaker in die onderwys advies te verskaf rakende kwessies van doeltreffendheid en gelykheid.

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