Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



Parental Characteristics, Supply of Schools, and ChildSchool-enrolment in Pakistan

In recent yean, due to a virtual unanimity about the criticalrole of hmnan capital in economic development, increased efforts arebeing made in the developing countries to eradicate illiteracy. Despitea significant increase over time in the number of educationalinstitutions and the government’s expenditure on education in Pakistan,the performance of the education sector in terms of output has been atbest meagre. This non-correspondence between the growth in theeducational institutions and the resultant output implies that failureto enlist the participation of the population in education can hardly beattributed exclusively to an insufficiency of the schools. To the extentthat child schooling reflects parental capacity to invest in hmnancapital formation, there is a need to reckon with factors bearingparental decision regarding child schooling. This paper investigatesfamily’s decision regarding child schooling through an assessment of thedeterminants of child school-enro1ment, using choice theoreticframework. The regression results are indicative of the influence ofhousehold status, both economic and social, on the propensity to investin child schooling. A positive association between the household income,parental education, and tenurial status as land-owner bear out theimportance of these factors in shaping the household’s decisionregarding investment in human capital formation. The study also fmdstraces of the quantity-quality trade-off in family’s preferencesregarding the nmnber of children, and it is found to be male-specific.The most disturbing fmding of the study appears to be the predominanceof the influence originating from parental education. It is thisinter-generational transfer of human capital which needs more attentionas it also implies that illiteracy, and hence poverty, of the parentsgets transmitted to the off-spring. The analysis also brings out thefact that the labour market hiring practices serve as an importantfeedback to the household’s human capital formationbehaviour.

Nadeem A. Burney, Mohammad Irfan

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