Education and Poverty

Helpdesk Query:

What evidence is there of a causal link between increased educational provision and decreased poverty? Is there any evidence of education having a negative impact on poverty alleviation?

The reverse of the coin is also interesting. There seems to be a great deal of evidence about the negative effect poverty has on education but is there any evidence of positive effects?

Summary:

This helpdesk report presents the available evidence regarding the following aspects of the relationship between education and poverty:

1. Evidence of a link between increased educational provision and decreased poverty.
2. Evidence of education having a negative impact on poverty alleviation.
3. Negative effects of poverty on education.
4. Positive effects of poverty on education.

In examining this evidence, it is important to consider the definitions and measurements of poverty that are being used by the studies.  Palmer, Wedgwood and Hayman (2007) emphasise the importance of a multidimensional understanding of poverty that recognises the complex inter-relations between social and physiological aspects. They argue that in policy and practice there is a tendency to categorise poverty simplistically in terms of income poverty. The studies in this report take a range of approaches to defining and measuring poverty. Many do use the effect of education on income as their primary outcome. It is also important to distinguish between absolute and relative poverty. Educational expansion may play a role in reducing absolute poverty while, at the same time, increasing inequality and relative poverty (Rolleston 2011).

 

 

 

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