Type of Document Dissertation Author Gibbison, Godfrey A. Author's Email Address firstname.lastname@example.org URN etd-012699-214835 Title Family Structure and Human Capital Formation in Jamaica Degree PhD Department Economics (Arts and Sciences) Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Alwang, Jeffrey R. Committee Co-Chair Salehi-Isfahani, Djavad Committee Co-Chair Mills, Bradford F. Committee Member Murphy, Russell D. Committee Member Rosenthal, Stuart Committee Member Keywords
- family structure
- educational attainment
Date of Defense 1998-12-08 Availability mixed AbstractAbstract
In the last 30 years the Jamaican government has invested substantially in
education at the primary and secondary levels by providing a large number of
inputs, including trained teachers. Still, many children are illiterate after
completing primary school, and a large number of teenagers leave secondary
school without acquiring a skill. The educational attainment of Jamaican
children is low in absolute terms, and in comparison to other Caribbean nations.
This breakdown in the uptake of education cannot be explained by lack of
physical inputs. This dissertation focuses on the dynamics of the household by
posing the question: Is the educational achievement of children with unmarried
mothers different than that of children with married mothers? This is a
potentially important question for Jamaica, since 80% of children are born out
of wedlock and the probability of having married parents at age 15 is just 50
percent. It was found that children whose mothers are unmarried had lower
cognitive achievement than children with married mothers, that in certain cases
the disparity accentuates over time, and that children with unmarried mothers
are also less likely to be attending high school.
A large number of women in Jamaica complete most or all of their fertility out
of wedlock. Yet, many of these women enter marriages at a late age (between 35
and 50 years old). These marriages sometimes evolve from current domiciliary
relationships, but quite often they do not. In this study, one possible
motivation for these late marriages is explored. It is proposed that women with
smart children enter late marriages as a way of securing funds to invest in the
education of these children. They are motivated to do so because, in the
absence of old-age protection in Jamaica, smart children are a good way to store
consumption for one's old age. This hypothesis was supported by the data.
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