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"education To Poverty And Its Consequences: The Educational Plight Of Low-income Families During The Transition Period

Posted on:2008-01-03Degree:DoctorType:Dissertation
Country:ChinaCandidate:H W GuFull Text:PDF
GTID:1117360242468792Subject:Western economics
Abstract/Summary:PDF Full Text Request
It is showed that there have been problems with the economic reform in some areas in the countries of transition economy, such as ignorance of fair competition that had been stressed upon in the central planned economy and failure to obtain the efficiency of market economy.Education and medical treatment have become the hot issues in our country, because the reform in these two regions is closely related with people's daily life, at the same time various problems are emerging one after another. For example, education domain recently presents the issue of "poverty caused by schooling", which is similar to "poverty caused by diseases". For over twenty years, the education expenditure in both rural and urban areas has steadily been increasing year on year. Up to 2005, spending on culture-education-and-entertainment in china accounts for 11.6% of the total household expenditure while spending on necessities such as food, clothing and housing takes up about 65.8% of the total. Namely, paying off for the necessities the average household has to invest more than half of the remaining income in education. In contrast with twenty years ago, the spending on education only accounts for 6.3%(Yearbook of China's Rural Household Survey, 2006).. Moreover, in a joint survey initiated by Xinhuanet and Economy Reference Newspaper, it is shows that the problem of education charging has become the priority concern of the people.With the increasing tuition, the problem of "poverty caused by schooling" in low-income household appears more and more serious. A research report about china's residential life quality index in 2005, jointly released by Zero Investigation and Index Data, indicates that education expenditure has become a chief cause for poverty of rural and urban residents. Especially, rural poverty stricken household can hardly afford education tuitions. it costs a household from RMB10,000 to RMB30,000 to support a child of 6-year schooling in a primary school, RMB30,000 to RMB60,000, that of another 6-year schooling from a junior to a senior school, 3 years in each, and from RMB40,000 to RMB100,000 for a 4-year college education.The expenditure is far high beyond a poor family's total savings making them broke.[0] My survey shows that 43% of the interviewees in the cities think their poverty is caused by education costs of their children while 46% of those do in the rural areas.China Education Daily also reported that education expenditure was the primary reason for the poverty of urban and rural residents. 40%-50% of people mentioned that their families were doomed to be poor due to their children's education. Especially for rural families, education expenditure is their number one household expenses; Jilin province government conducted a sample survey at a school in a town, the results showed that 28.7% of the students are "afraid of going to university." The reason was "the family could not afford the cost of schooling" (China Youth Daily, 2005-5-11). Another survey of some students in 16 secondary schools across 11 provinces, who would take the college entrance examination, comes out with the similar result that 82.3% of their families believed that higher education spending was the main reason for leading their families to poverty; at the same time more than two-thirds of the families could not make both ends meet (China Youth Daily, 2006-7-17). It can be assumed that as for families in the backward areas, education has substituted disease becoming the most important factor for poverty.However, the problem of "poverty caused by schooling" resulting from increasing intuitions is only one phenomenon of "poverty caused by schooling" in this thesis. The former is only a transient poverty. If children can find a good job after graduation, education is still an economically lucrative investment in human capital. It is worthwhile for families to put up with poverty temporarily. Another form of "poverty caused by education" presents that students earn the wage levels are insufficient to pay the costs of education (including the direct and opportunity costs) once they have graduated. So what the low-income families bore during their children's education will transform a long-term transient poverty. And the reasons for this phenomenon include: inadequate public investment, increasing family education expenses, raising college enrolment, low quality of education and labor market mobile barriers etc. Of course, the background of this problem is China's gradual widening gap between rich and poor. The education expenditure is minimal cost for high-income families, but is heavy burden for low-income families to afford. We have reason to believe that significant proportion of low-income families had encountered the problem of "poverty caused by education". These groups include the majority of the households in rural areas and marginal urban population, for example, the families of laid-off unemployment or non-local workers.From another angle, the universality of this issue can also be proved. If we use "Google" searching by keyword "poverty caused by education", a total of 13,200 articles mentioned that. the "poverty caused by schooling", compared with 945,000 articles. While a year and a half before the beginning of this thesis, the keyword on the web site was relatively rarely mentioned.Existing economic theory stresses the positive role of education to economic growth and personal income. Since 1960s the revolution of human capital began, education was seen as an investment in human beings. At macro levels, Danison and Jorgensen et al decomposed the factors affecting economic growth, education was used to explain the inexplicable "residual" in economic growth. At micro levels, Becker and Mincer et al use education to explain the differences in the distribution of individual incomes. There is a positive correlation between education and individual income. Moreover, the rate of return to education is often higher than the general rate of return to physical investment. For this reason, education has become a panacea for poor families in backward countries out of poverty.The analysis in this thesis indirectly shows that the role of education enhancing personal income is conditional. If there is no good government policy and market environment, shaking off poverty through education will become impossible, or even to some extent it will strengthen the existing gap between rich and poor.Another problem related with "poverty caused by schooling" is children drop-outs and child labor. In backward rural areas, the rate of return to secondary education is very low, so the choice of education by poor families is not continuous. In particular, if children learn well, the families can find ways to finance education and help them finish higher education; conversely, if the children do poorly in learning, so as their parents see no hope of going to college, they will not be financed to finish high school. For the traditional agricultural production, the simple skill of reading, writing and calculating is enough. A lot of learning contents in high school are relative useless (Jiang Zhongyi et al, 2002; 2003). The farmers are rational. So the dual choice in education results that China is also a country employing child labor; although it is not a high proportion, but a large amount.The analytical method in this thesis adopt the human capital theory developed by Mincer, Schultz and Becker et al, in which school education is viewed as an important investment to human beings. Schools are special institutions engaging in educational production (Becker, 1964), and processing factory of human capital. School education is a kind of "time-intensive" product activities (Zhang Fenglin, 2006, p.159). The analysis of school education is also required from the perspective of costs and benefits.The analysis in this paper is based on the family as the basic unit of analysis, but not on educatee, and this paper does not intend to explore following questions for further examination, such as inter-family wealth transfer, division of labor and games. The focus of this article is to examine, against the current economic transformation background, the dilemma faced by of low-income families in education: "poverty caused by schooling" and child labor. As aforementioned, the issue of "poverty caused by schooling" has two types: one is the transient poverty born by low-income families during schooling, the other is long-term poverty for investment failure in human capital. The issue of child labor is the response to "poverty caused by schooling" by poor families, is also a direct consequence of it.Based on this research clue, the thesis is structured as follows:Chapter 1 is the introduction, putting forward the central issues and the frame of this paper;Chapter 2 defines the concept of "poverty caused by schooling", the type, characteristics and the scope. It also uses the data and survey to confirm the "education caused by schooling" to be the facts;Chapter 3 introduces adopted analysis methods in detail—such as human capital theory, including its evolution, meaning, main contents and the latest developments.Chapter 4 is the core of this treatise, describing the issue of "poverty caused by schooling" in current low-income families under the human capital theory frame;Chapter 5 from the perspective of "signaling theory" to explain the problem "education caused buy schooling" and other issues, it is a necessary complement to the previous chapter;Then the analysis of the problem of child labor proceeds in chapter 6. We believed that this is the inevitable result of rational behaviors of poor families;At last Chapter 7 concludes the thesis with a summary of the issues, some policy proposals, the paper's shortages and the future research directions.In this paper, the basic conclusion is that because of some policies and market factors, a considerable part of low-income families in China at present is faced with the problem of "poverty caused by schooling". Education is no longer a panacea helping families out of poverty, but increase the gap between rich and poor. Namely, education economic role works well depending on some conditions. But these necessary policies and market conditions are often neglected. One of the consequences of "poverty caused by schooling" is the following fact: because poor families are forced to afford high cost for schooling, when their children will not do well in their learning, they will initiatively terminate the investment in human capital, then bringing the issue of child labor.Surveying education from the point view of economy, either "overeducation" or "undereducation" is inefficient. To developing China, using education to get rid of poverty and backwardness of the state, it should be paid particular attention to this point. In addition, the "poverty caused by schooling" is a phenomenon unique to the current phase of the transition, but not an inevitable stage in the development of a country's education. Other countries do not have the similar problems during the development of their education.This paper's contributions and innovations are:Firstly, based on the analysis of the statistical data and a household interview results, we confirm the existence of the "poverty caused by schooling" issue;Secondly, through elaborating the issue of "poverty caused by schooling", we analyze the reasons of the problem. The results indicate that the economic function of education is conditionally working;Thirdly, through international comparison and empirical analysis of the education expenditure born by families, we have fully proved the schooling intuitions afforded by Chinese families are over high, particularly total expenditure on education far beyond the affordability of a considerable number of low-income families;The last but not the least, the current dilemma of education faced by low-income families is introduced. Children drop-outs and child labor are the results of "poverty caused by schooling". Given the domestic research about the problem of child labor is still at the blank stage, we survey interrelated literature; and put forward a new perspective about insufficient earnings of secondary education to explaining the phenomenon of child labor. And this theory is applied to the analysis of the problem of child labor in China. We believe that this angle of view is powerful for explaining the problems of child labor in majority of developing countries.
Keywords/Search Tags:human capital, poverty caused by schooling, poverty trap, child labor
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