Education, gender bias and economic growth: Estimating the full income impact of educating women

Wael A Hibri, Fordham University


One of the puzzles of development is that while survey research demonstrates female education has positive impacts on a number of key development indicators, these effects do not show at the national level, or at least in terms that cross-country regressions can demonstrate. In fact in some instances years of female education has a negative impact on growth. This dissertation explores several possible explanations for why the impacts of female education show up at the household level, but not at the national level. It postulates that equity between men and women, measured as the ratio of years of educational attainment for women over men, is a robust and statistically significant determinant of growth when compared with a wide array of explanatory variables. Since educated women have a positive impact on longevity, there are externalities to their educational attainment that are not captured in per capita income and growth of per capita income alone. This research uses a measure of income that incorporates non-pecuniary elements such leisure and longevity. I use Becker's (2005) "full" income as a dependent variable which is a sum of per capita income plus the annual increase in income due to longevity gains. I also trace gender inequity in education to barriers to women's employment. Greater equity and access to employment for women is associated with lower fertility, greater longevity and higher investment. A 10% increase in women's education is found to be associated with .6% annual per capita income growth, and 1.6% annual "full" per capita income growth. The empirical results are largely consistent with an Overlapping Generations Model where anticipated remittances from children to parents are a signaling mechanism that determines fertility, education levels and distribution of education resources based on the job market. ^

Subject Area

Economics, Labor|Economics, Theory

Recommended Citation

Hibri, Wael A, "Education, gender bias and economic growth: Estimating the full income impact of educating women" (2010). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3415999.