The Impact of Educational Homogamy on Isolated Illiteracy Levels
- 382 Downloads
In this article, we explore the impacts that education expansion and increased levels in educational homogamy have had on couples’ isolated illiteracy rates, defined as the proportion of illiterates in union that are married to an illiterate partner. First, we develop the methodology to decompose isolated illiteracy rates into two main components: one related to level of homogamy among illiterates, and the other related to the educational distribution of the spouses. Second, we use harmonized international census microdata from IPUMS and DHS data for 73 countries and 217 samples to investigate which of the two components is more important in shaping the level of isolated illiteracy. Our results indicate that the expansion of literacy has been more powerful than the increases in the tendency toward homogamy in its impact on isolated illiteracy rates. As the percentage of illiterates decreases over time, an increasingly large proportion of them marry literate individuals, showing that opportunities for intermarriage among illiterates expand despite the strengthening of homogamy.
KeywordsIsolated illiteracy Educational expansion Educational homogamy IPUMS Demographic and Health Surveys
This research is part of the European Research Council’s WORLDFAM project (ERC-2009-StG-240978) and research project CSO2011-24544. Iñaki Permanyer gratefully acknowledges support from the Spanish Ministry of Economy “Juan de la Cierva” Research Grant Program and research project ECO2010-21668-C03-02.
- Barro, R., & Sala-i-Martin, X. (2004). Economic growth. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Basu, K., Narayan, A. & Ravaillon, M. (2001). Is literacy shared within households? Theory and evidence from Bangladesh (Working Paper No. 01-44). Cambridge, MA: MIT Department of Economics.Google Scholar
- Lutz, W., Goujon, A., K. C., S., & Sanderson, W. (2007). Reconstruction of populations by age, sex and level of educational attainment for 120 countries for 1970–2000. Vienna Yearbook of Population Research 2007. Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences. doi: 10.1553/populationyearbook2007s193
- Mitra, T. (2002). On literacy rankings (CAE Working Paper 02-16). Ithaca, NY: Center for Analytical Economics, Cornell University.Google Scholar
- Sen, A. (1992). Inequality reexamined. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Sen, A. (1998). Development as freedom. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- United Nations. (2003). Population, education and development. The concise report (ST/ESA/SER.A/226). New York: United Nations.Google Scholar
- United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). (2007). Global education digest. Montreal, Canada: UNESCO Institute for Statistics.Google Scholar