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Secondary School as a Contraceptive: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from Burundi

Listed author(s):
  • Philip Verwimp

It is well-known that more educated women have their first child at later age compared to less educated women. The causality of this relationship and the mechanisms behind it however are another matter. In this paper we use a regression discontinuity design to infer the causal effect of prolonged schooling on the timing of the first child as well as the drivers of the effect. We tracked and interviewed 375 young Burundian women who took part in their countries ‘Concours Nationale’, a nationwide test taken at age 15.5 on average that decides whether or not someone can continue their education. Failure or success in this test strongly affects age at first child. As a lot of girls manage to circumvent the test score cut-off point set by the Ministry of Education, we employ a fuzzy method whereby the assignment into treatment serves as an instrumental variable for effective treatment. We find an ITT of -13 and a LATE of -54 percentage points on the probability to have had a pregnancy four years after the test and of -27 before age 20. An additional year of secondary school reduces the probability to become pregnant by 8 percentage points. We also find evidence for several channels raised in the literature to explain the finding (incarceration, knowledge and modernization). The results are robust to alternative specifications.

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File URL: https://dipot.ulb.ac.be/dspace/bitstream/2013/229281/3/2016-19-VERWIMP-secondary.pdf
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Paper provided by ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles in its series Working Papers ECARES with number ECARES 2016-19.

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Length: 34 p.
Date of creation: Apr 2016
Publication status: Published by:
Handle: RePEc:eca:wpaper:2013/229281
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  1. A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach & Douglas L. Miller, 2008. "Bootstrap-Based Improvements for Inference with Clustered Errors," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 414-427, August.
  2. Adam Ashcraft & Iván Fernández‐Val & Kevin Lang, 2013. "The Consequences of Teenage Childbearing: Consistent Estimates When Abortion Makes Miscarriage Non‐random," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 123, pages 875-905, 09.
  3. Maria Paola & Vincenzo Scoppa, 2014. "The effectiveness of remedial courses in Italy: a fuzzy regression discontinuity design," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 27(2), pages 365-386, April.
  4. Azevedo, Joao Pedro & Lopez-Calva, Luis F. & Perova, Elizaveta, 2012. "Is the baby to blame ? an inquiry into the consequences of early childbearing," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6074, The World Bank.
  5. Atila Abdulkadiroğlu & Joshua Angrist & Parag Pathak, 2014. "The Elite Illusion: Achievement Effects at Boston and New York Exam Schools," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82(1), pages 137-196, 01.
  6. Lucia Breierova & Esther Duflo, 2003. "The Impact of Education on Fertility and Child Mortality: Do Fathers Really Matter Less Than Mothers?," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 217, OECD Publishing.
  7. Arline T. Geronimus & Sanders Korenman, 1992. "The Socioeconomic Consequences of Teen Childbearing Reconsidered," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(4), pages 1187-1214.
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