How Mexico’s Investments in Education Will Change North American Agriculture

Worldwide, as income per capita rises, the share of the population working in agriculture diminishes. At present, there is little research investigating the mechanisms underlying this phenomenon. In a new paper, I examine the role of human capital investments in the transition off the farm, using household panel data that is nationally representative of rural Mexico. Does improved access to schools reduce the probability that individuals do farm work?

Continue reading

The Emergence of the Japanese Juku Industry

Japanese education is made up of two sectors – school education and shadow education. Although the school system is always discussed officially, shadow education, which is usually called juku in Japanese, has rarely been discussed officially or studied academically. However, the latter has really earned trust from people and it is no exaggeration to say that the jukus have sustained the academic performance of Japanese people in the post-war[i] period. And owing to this dual structure, Japanese education can be considered a huge experimental field for education policies, systems, and methods. Therefore, I would like to draw the attention of researchers and policymakers who are interested in sociology of education, privatization of education, and education in the information age, etc.  In particular, I would like to give a brief outline of the background in which the juku industry emerged.

Continue reading

Policy Paradigm Shift: The Need to Consider Human Capital and not Just Population Growth in Evaluating Population Trends

The twentieth anniversary of the Cairo International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) is approaching. As a strategic meeting around world population issues is in preparation (ICPD beyond 2014), this is a good  time to review past achievements and define new challenges. The UNECE countries of Europe, Central Asia, and North America constitute a globally relevant laboratory in which much can be learned about population trends and the relationship between policies and outcomes that may subsequently play out in other parts of the globe.

Continue reading

Family Background and Financial Literacy Outcomes

Following the aftermath of the economic collapse, we have witnessed a flood of financial education programmes oriented towards students of different age groups. Consumer-side financial education interventions have the potential to increase awareness of financial products, and influence behaviour such as saving and financial planning. More precisely, in developed countries many programmes emphasise preparation for retirement, the importance of saving, and the upbringing of an informed and conscious youth. These beneficial functions of financial education are well known by scholars interested in the field. What, however, seems to have been largely ignored up to this point is the role that financial knowledge plays within the process of intergenerational life-course mobility. My recent research has therefore attempted to fill this gap by establishing a connection between financial education and the socio-economic analysis of intergenerational persistence.

Continue reading