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Menstruation, Sanitary Products, and School Attendance: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation

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  • Emily Oster
  • Rebecca Thornton

Abstract

Policy-makers have cited menstruation and lack of sanitary products as barriers to girls' schooling. We evaluate these claims using a randomized evaluation of sanitary products provision to girls in Nepal. We report two findings. First, menstruation has a very small impact on school attendance. We estimate that girls miss a total of 0.4 days in a 180 day school year. Second, improved sanitary technology has no effect on reducing this (small) gap. Girls who randomly received sanitary products were no less likely to miss school during their period. We can reject (at the 1 percent level) the claim that better menstruation products close the attendance gap. (JEL I21, J13, J16, O12)

Suggested Citation

  • Emily Oster & Rebecca Thornton, 2011. "Menstruation, Sanitary Products, and School Attendance: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 91-100, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:3:y:2011:i:1:p:91-100
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.3.1.91
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Maimaiti, Yasheng & Siebert, W. Stanley, 2009. "The Gender Education Gap in China: The Power of Water," IZA Discussion Papers 4108, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Jere R. Behrman & Barbara L. Wolfe, 1989. "Does More Schooling Make Women Better Nourished and Healthier? Adult Sibling Random and Fixed Effects Estimates for Nicaragua," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(4), pages 644-663.
    3. Andrea Ichino & Enrico Moretti, 2009. "Biological Gender Differences, Absenteeism, and the Earnings Gap," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 183-218, January.
    4. Emily Oster & Rebecca Thornton, 2009. "Determinants of Technology Adoption: Private Value and Peer Effects in Menstrual Cup Take-Up," NBER Working Papers 14828, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Rokhaya Dieye & Habiba Djebbari & Felipe Barrera-Osorio, 2014. "Accounting for Peer Effects in Treatment Response," AMSE Working Papers 1435, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, Marseille, France, revised Jul 2014.
    2. Peters, Jörg & Langbein, Jörg & Roberts, Gareth, 2017. "Generalization in the Tropics: Development policy, randomized controlled trials, and external validity," Ruhr Economic Papers 716, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    3. Peters, Jörg & Langbein, Jörg & Roberts, Gareth, 2016. "Policy evaluation, randomized controlled trials, and external validity—A systematic review," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 147(C), pages 51-54.
    4. Belot, Michèle & James, Jonathan, 2016. "Partner selection into policy relevant field experiments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 31-56.
    5. Emily Oster & Rebecca Thornton, 2012. "Determinants Of Technology Adoption: Peer Effects In Menstrual Cup Take-Up," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(6), pages 1263-1293, December.
    6. Stopnitzky, Yaniv, 2012. "The Bargaining Power of Missing Women: Evidence from a Sanitation Campaign in India," MPRA Paper 37841, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Bennett, Daniel & Chiang, Chun-Fang & Malani, Anup, 2015. "Learning during a crisis: The SARS epidemic in Taiwan," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 1-18.
    8. Herrmann, Mariesa A. & Rockoff, Jonah E., 2013. "Do menstrual problems explain gender gaps in absenteeism and earnings?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 12-22.
    9. Mariesa A. Herrmann & Jonah E. Rockoff, 2012. "Does Menstruation Explain Gender Gaps in Work Absenteeism?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(2), pages 493-508.
    10. Harounan Kazianga & Leigh Linden & Ali Protik & Matt Sloan, 2015. "Impact Evaluation of Burkina Faso's BRIGHT Program: Design Report," Mathematica Policy Research Reports c0250cd3f27d448ea70d909c3, Mathematica Policy Research.
    11. Kang, Lili & Peng, Fei, 2012. "Siblings, public facilities and education returns in China," MPRA Paper 38922, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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