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Social constraints and women's education: Evidence from Afghanistan under radical religious rule

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  • Noury, Abdul G.
  • Speciale, Biagio

Abstract

We analyze how growing up under Taliban rule affects Afghan women's educational attainments and subsequent labor market and fertility outcomes. While in power from 1996 to 2001, the Taliban ruled a large portion of the Afghan territory and introduced a ban on girls’ education. Using data from the National Risk and Vulnerability Assessment survey, we rely on the fact that, depending on their year of birth and province of residence, individuals differed in the number of years they were exposed to the Taliban government while of school age. Our difference-in-differences estimates show that an additional year of exposure to the Taliban occupation while of school age reduces a woman's probability of completing basic education by about two percentage points. The effects on educational outcomes are larger in Pashtun districts and rural areas. These findings are not due to the 1992 introduction of the provisional Islamist government that preceded the Taliban, cultural differences related to ethnicity, or varying emigration rates across provinces. The estimates are robust to differences across provinces in the number of violent events before, during, and after the Taliban occupation. Women exposed to the Taliban’s radical religious rule while they were of school age are also less likely to be employed outside of the household and more likely to have an agricultural job within the household. For fertility choices, exposure to the Taliban occupation increases total number of children and lowers age at first marriage. We discuss our empirical findings against theoretical economic literature on radical religious groups (e.g., Iannaccone, 1992; Berman, 2000).

Suggested Citation

  • Noury, Abdul G. & Speciale, Biagio, 2016. "Social constraints and women's education: Evidence from Afghanistan under radical religious rule," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(4), pages 821-841.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:44:y:2016:i:4:p:821-841
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jce.2016.07.005
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    Cited by:

    1. Pierre-Guillaume Méon & Ilan Tojerow, 2018. "In God We Learn? The Universal Messages of Religions, their Context-Specific Effects, and the role of Minority Status," Working Papers CEB 16-036, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    2. El-Mallakh, Nelly & Maurel, Mathilde & Speciale, Biagio, 2018. "Arab spring protests and women's labor market outcomes: Evidence from the Egyptian revolution," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 656-682.
    3. Eleonora Bertoni & Michele Di Maio & Vasco Molini & Roberto Nisticò, 2018. "Education is Forbidden: The Effect of the Boko Haram Conflict on Education in North-East Nigeria," CSEF Working Papers 495, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.

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    Keywords

    Taliban; Women; Schooling; Labor market outcomes; Fertility choices;

    JEL classification:

    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General

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