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Women's schooling, fertility, and child health outcomes: Evidence from Uganda's free primary education program

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  • Keats, Anthony

Abstract

This paper examines the role of women's education on both fertility and child health in Uganda. To identify causal effects, I exploit the timing of a national reform that eliminated primary school fees in 1997 to implement a regression discontinuity design. At the cutoff, the reform increased educational attainment by nearly one year on average, with impacts across all grade levels through the end of secondary school. Women with more schooling both delay and reduce overall fertility, increase early child health investments, and have less chronically malnourished children. In terms of mechanisms, women with additional schooling do not abstain more from sex as adolescents, but they are more likely to have used contraceptives before a first pregnancy and they delay marriage. Other downstream effects include improved employment outcomes and greater wealth.

Suggested Citation

  • Keats, Anthony, 2018. "Women's schooling, fertility, and child health outcomes: Evidence from Uganda's free primary education program," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 142-159.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:135:y:2018:i:c:p:142-159
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2018.07.002
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    Cited by:

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    2. Nicholas Ingwersen & Harounan Kazianga & Leigh L. Linden & Arif Mamun & Ali Protik & Matthew Sloan, 2019. "The Long-Term Impacts of Girl-Friendly Schools: Evidence from the BRIGHT School Construction Program in Burkina Faso," NBER Working Papers 25994, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Akyol, Pelin & Mocan, Naci, 2020. "Education and Consanguineous Marriage," IZA Discussion Papers 13985, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Le, Kien & Nguyen, My, 2020. "Shedding light on maternal education and child health in developing countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 133(C).
    5. André, Pierre & Dupraz, Yannick, 2019. "Education and Polygamy: Evidence from Cameroon," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 435, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    6. Chicoine,Luke, 2020. "Free Primary Education, Fertility, and Women's Access to the Labor Market : Evidence from Ethiopia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9105, The World Bank.
    7. Teresa Molina & Ivan Rivadeneyra, 2019. "The Labor Market Effects of Eliminating University Tuition in Ecuador," Working Papers 201901, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
    8. Cui, Ying & Liu, Hong & Zhao, Liqiu, 2019. "Mother's education and child development: Evidence from the compulsory school reform in China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 669-692.
    9. Wild, Frederik & Stadelmann, David, 2020. "Heterogeneous Effects of Women's Schooling on Fertility, Literacy and Work: Evidence from Burundi's Free Primary Education Policy," VfS Annual Conference 2020 (Virtual Conference): Gender Economics 224607, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    10. Masuda, Kazuya, 2019. "Length of maternal schooling and child’s risk of malaria infection in Uganda: evidence from a natural experiment," CEI Working Paper Series 2018-22, Center for Economic Institutions, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    11. Bose, Bijetri & Heymann, Jody, 2019. "Effects of tuition-free primary education on women's access to family planning and on health decision-making: A cross-national study," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 238(C), pages 1-1.
    12. Cornwell, Benjamin & Yan, Xuewen & Carlin, Rebecca F. & Fu, Linda & Wang, Jichuan & Moon, Rachel Y., 2021. "Social network influences on new mothers’ infant sleep adjustments," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 269(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Education; Fertility; Child health;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

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