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

  • Emily Oster
  • Rebecca Thornton

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)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 3 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 91-100

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:3:y:2011:i:1:p:91-100
Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.3.1.91
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/aej-applied
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References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Andrea Ichino & Enrico Moretti, 2006. "Biological Gender Differences, Absenteeism and the Earning Gap," NBER Working Papers 12369, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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. 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).
  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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