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Investing in education as a means and as an end: exploring the micro foundations of the Millennium Development Goals Research Report 2008
UNECA, 2008
by: Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)

Investing in education is regarded as one of the centerpieces of development. At the height of this recognition, the Millennium Development Goals have set universal primary education as one of the eight goals to be achieved by 2015. However, apart from taking it as end in itself, not much scrutiny was pursued in identifying the role of education as a means to achieve the other goals. In this paper, I have examined the impact of household education on MDG-related indicators constructed out of survey data in pursuit of exploring the microfoundations of the broader goals. Seven African countries representing different cross-sections of economic development and historical background were included in the study. In the results, family education is shown to have a consistently strong impact on household wealth, children?s schooling and utilization of delivery assistance. Education appears to have a weaker impact on those indicators where a comprehensive knowledge or information that is not necessarily provided in formal education is required. Higher education might not be necessary to directly influence such basic welfare indicators as child mortality. But it plays an instrumental role in improving the household?s economic status which is crucial in determining other welfare variables.

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