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Risk and Schooling Decisions in Rural Madagascar: a Panel Data Analysis

  • Flore Gubert


    (DIAL, IRD, Paris)

  • Anne-Sophie Robilliard


    (DIAL, IRD, Paris)

(english) Most households in rural Madagascar are engaged in agriculture and derive a large share of their income from the production of food or cash crops and from animal husbandry. However, agricultural yields can be extremely volatile due to weather conditions, pests, insects, rodents and other calamities. As a result, households record large fluctuations in their incomes that must be dealt with. Since the usual consumption-smoothing market mechanisms are quite limited in the Malagasy context, households need to rely on nonmarket mechanisms or to adopt multi-faceted strategies to cope with risk. In this paper, we examine the possibility that parents obtain informal income insurance by letting their children work. We test this hypothesis by examining the relationship between household income shocks and human capital investment in children. In particular, we investigate whether children’s propensity to join school and to drop out of school responds to transient shocks. We also investigate issues such as gender and intrahousehold resource allocation. _________________________________ (français) La plupart des ménages ruraux malgaches tirent l’essentiel de leurs revenus de l’agriculture et sont exposés à un fort degré d’incertitude en raison de la fréquence et de l’intensité des aléas frappant les champs de culture ou les troupeaux. En l’absence de marchés du crédit ou de l’assurance, des moyens alternatifs pour éliminer ou atténuer les conséquences défavorables de cette incertitude doivent être trouvés par les ménages. Dans cet article, nous envisageons la possibilité que la mise au travail des enfants constitue un mécanisme de gestion des risques. Afin de tester cette hypothèse, nous examinons les déterminants de la scolarisation en cycle primaire d’un échantillon d’enfants issus de ménages ruraux. Nous examinons notamment le rôle des chocs de revenu subis par les ménages sur les probabilités d’entrée (dans) et de sortie hors de l’école de leurs membres en âge d’être scolarisés, en portant une attention particulière aux questions de genre et d’allocation intra-ménage des ressources. Les résultats indiquent que les chocs transitoires de revenu ont un impact significatif sur la probabilité de sortie de l’école mais pas sur la probabilité d’entrer à l’école. Cela suggère que la déscolarisation des enfants les plus âgés constitue un mécanisme de gestion du risque pour les ménages ruraux.

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Paper provided by DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation) in its series Working Papers with number DT/2006/08.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:dia:wpaper:dt200608
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