Does Access to Secondary Education Affect Primary Schooling? Evidence from India
This paper investigates if better access to secondary education increases enrolment in primary schools among children in the 6-10 age group. Using a household-level longitudinal survey covering 43 villages in a poor state in India, we find support for the hypothesis that better access to secondary education increases enrolment and attendance among children in the primary school-going age group. A 1 km decrease in the distance to the nearest secondary school increases the proportion of children in a household who are enroled in primary school by 6.5 percentage points. These results do not change significantly even after we account for endogenous placement of secondary schools and measurement error issues. Moreover, we find that the effect is consistent with what theory predicts: the marginal effect is larger for poorer households and boys (who are more likely to enter the labour force). Further, using a nationally representative survey for India (National Sample Survey 2007-08), we also provide some suggestive evidence that this effect may be quite widespread. This result gives support to the assertion that if the costs of post primary schooling are too high, as they would be if secondary schools are far away, parents have lesser interest in their children's education even at the primary stage.
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