Schooling Ain’t Learning

Schooling is expanding rapidly in the Third World, writes Lant Pritchett in The Rebirth of Education. But the subtitle — Schooling Ain’t Learning — tells the real story, writes Bryan Caplan on EconLog. “Literacy and numeracy remain wretched.

The average Haitian and Bangladeshi today have more schooling than the average Frenchman or Italian in 1960:


On international tests, however, the average student in the developing world scores far below the average student in the developed world.

There is a large education premium in the Third World, notes Caplan. Since weaker students usually drop out, those who make it through are more attractive to employers.

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  1. What would the US numbers look like if social promotion was not allowed?