Household determinants of educational attainment and enrollment
Deon Filmer and I developed the use of an assets index for use with the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS). The index is based on principal components of asset ownership (e.g. a radio? a bicycle?) and housing conditions (e.g. type of toilet facilities) and is a proxy for the household socioeconomic status.
Using that index we could construct a series of comparable figures that showed the differences in the educational attainment of children according to the wealth of their household, location of residence, their sex, and interactions. These attainment profiles show vividly the role of "never enrolling" versus "early abandonment" in determining the deficit from target attainment (e.g. universal primary or basic education) and show the gaps in educational attainment across categories of socio-economic disadvantage.
The best way to appreciate this research is to go to the web site designed and maintained by Deon Filmer to see figures like the one below (that compares the attainment profiles across the poor (bottom 40 percent), middle 40 percent and the rich (top 20 percent) for three countries. At the web site one can see detailed graphs for more than fifty countries (some for multiple years). The website has been recently expanded to include even more countries and even more surveys than the DHS and is now an amazing resource for getting a handle on the basics of many country's education challenges. This web site is one of the marvels of the modern world: Education Attainment Around the World.
The papers in which this research is reported are:
- Estimating Wealth Effects without Expenditure Data--or Tears: An Application to Educational Enrollments in States of India. Deon Filmer and Lant Pritchett. 2001. Demography 38(1) February.
- The Effect of Household Wealth on Educational Attainment: Evidence from 35 Countries. Deon Filmer and Lant Pritchett. 1999. Population and Development Review 25(1).
- Educational Enrollment and Attainment in India: Household Wealth, Gender, Village, and State Effects. Deon Filmer and Lant Pritchett. 1999. Journal of Educational Planning and Administration July. (Abstract and link to online (unrevised) working paper version).