We’ve worked hard to find useful statistics on the impact of education in the developing world. Below are some highlights. If you know of studies we haven’t seen, or would like more complete references, please let us know or click here.

Is education a good investment for development? 

  • Investments in education for developing countries have a high return: from 25% – 30%.
    •  Lockheed and Verspoor (1991)
  • Overall, the rate of return on 1 additional year of school is 10%, and the highest returns are found in low and middle-income countries.
    • Psacharapoulos and Patrinos (2002)
  • Quality education that produces 1 standard deviation increase in cognitive skills can raise returns to as much as 48%.
    • EFA Global Monitoring Report (2006)
  • 17.2% of Africa’s growth can be attributed to education
    • EFA Global Monitoring Report (1988)

What investments have high returns for schools?

  • Estimated short-term rate of return for a school’s budget for: textbooks (6-7%) blackboards (15-25%) repairing classroom leaks (13-24%), while the rate of return for an additional year of school at the current level of quality was 4 – 6%.
    • Glewwe and Jacoby (1994)
  • $1 invested in textbooks had a $12 savings (based on reducing the likelihood of grade repetition). The return of $1 on facilities improvement was $3.
    • Hanushek, Gomes-Neto, Harbison (1994)


How does education pull farmers out of poverty?

  • Education may enhance farm productivity directly by improving the quality of labor, by increasing the ability to adjust to disequilibria, and through its effect upon the propensity to successfully adopt innovations.
    • Shultz (1964; 1975)
  • In Asia, returns on investments in education may be as high in agriculture as they are for urban wage earners.
    • Hussain and Byerlee (1995)
  • Four years of schooling can increase farmer output by as much as 11.4%.
    • Phillips (1994)


How does education encourage economic growth?

  • An increase in test scores by one standard deviation is associated with an increase in annual growth in income per capita of 0.5 – 0.9%
    • Jamison (2006)
  • Post primary education increases the likelihood of women securing a formal wage earning job by 26%.
    • Sackey (2005)


How does education empower family planning?

  • The first eight years of education have a marked effect on female fertility (women have fewer children).
    • Lam & Duryea (1999)
  • Women with no schooling have around 5.9 children by ages 40-49. Primary education lowers this to 4.8, post-primary education drops it further to 3.5.
    • Shackey (2005)
  • Education more than doubles a woman’s likelihood of using contraception.
    • Shackey (2005)


How does education impact women?

  • Post-primary education increases a woman’s likelihood of getting a formal wage-earning job by 26%.
    • Shackey (2005)
  • Overall, women receive higher returns to their schooling investments. The returns to primary education are higher for men (20% vs. 13%), but women experience higher returns to secondary education (18% vs. 14%)
    • Psacharopoulos & Patrinos (2002)


How does education improve health?

  • 1107 Ghanaian children age 0 – 5: Mother’s education has a statistically significant relation to their child’s weight for height measurements.
    • Glewwe (1999)
  • 2171 Morrocan households: Adult household members were given tests on reading and writing, math, general knowledge, and health knowledge. Tests contained 5 questions on topics relevant to child health. 1495 children age 0 – 5 had their health measured by height for age. Health knowledge appears to be the most important skill that mothers need to care for their children. It seems that mothers use their literacy and numeracy skills to gain access to that knowledge.
    • Glewwe (1999)
  • There is a  strong association between education quality and declines in infant mortality rates. 1 standard deviation increase in test scores is estimated to increase the annual rate of IMR decline by .6%.
    • Jamison, Jamison, Hanushek (2006)


How does teacher support increase effectiveness? 

  • Doubling teacher salaries raised test scores by as much as .15 standard deviations.
    • Harbison and Hanushek (1992)
  • In a survey of over 60 studies on the impact of teacher education, a statistically significant majority found that teacher education had an impact on the effectiveness of their teaching.
    • Hanushek (1995)
  • Small bonuses (3% of annual pay) to teachers for improving student’s test scores encouraged an increase in scores by .19 standard deviations in math, and .12 standard deviations in language.
    • Muralidharan, Vankatesh (2006)


What impact does school quality have?

  • Improving the quality of a school can lower the drop-out rate by two-thirds.
    • Hanushek (1995)
  • Quality investments can well exceed (sometimes double) those from increasing the average number of years of schooling.
    • Jamison, Jamison, Hanushek (2006)