Year

2012

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

School of Economics and Information Systems

Abstract

Education, although contributes significantly to economic growth through human resource development, women education deserves attention for generating substantial benefits for the society by educating themselves as well as rearing healthy and better educated children as a potential workforce. However, the benefits of women’s education are commonly measured by increased productivity through enhanced labour market participation. In many developing countries, in fact, a non-linear relationship between women education and labour market participation is observed very often. Thus, studies do not always support the simple intuitive argument that increasing expenditure on women's education enhances economic development in such countries. This contradictory effect is possibly due to the fact that more educated women may live in higher income households, which can support their withdrawal from the workplace as primary care givers to the children. This effect may be stronger in some countries on account of traditional and cultural attitudes. However, it is argued in this thesis that educated women, by playing their role as mothers, indirectly contribute to the economic prosperity of their country. Educated women improve their own life as well as their children’s health by being able to keep the family size small and by utilizing their knowledge to implement effective health, hygienic and nutritional practices at home. Importantly, they also invest more in acquiring children’s education. Thus, even if educated women do not participate in the labour market, they indirectly generate longer term economic benefits. These indirect economic benefits are often overlooked in the debate of benefits ensuing from higher female education particularly in developing countries.

In persuasion of the relationships between mother's education and children’s school attendance as well as nutritional status in terms of being stunted or underweight, this thesis considers the socio-economic context and the household level data of Bangladesh. The empirical investigation through multiple regression models shows that child nutrition is unambiguously improved by mother’s education holding all other variables constant, father’s education in particular. By contrast, the argument is not sufficiently supported by the statistical analysis using probit model rather both father’s and mother’s education equally play an important role in acquiring children's education.

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