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Working Paper 145 - Assessing the Returns to Education in the Gambia


The importance of education in development is a perennial topic in economics especially in the context of sub-Saharan Africa’s development experience. The connection is not surprising since the region stands out both in its low level of schooling and its low historic average rate of economic growth. In the macroeconomic growth literature, Krueger and Lindahl (2001) showed that education is positively associated with economic growth, a result that accords well with many previous studies. Micro-level research on private rates of returns to education has shown disparate estimates in subSaharan Africa in the private benefits to education. Our work focuses on private returns to education in The Gambia, a small country in West Africa with very low levels of schooling. Like other countries in the region, it also has achieved little economic growth since independence in 1965. It is therefore not surprising that the country is not on schedule to achieve one of the Millennium Development Goals: universal primary education by 2015.

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