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Menstruation and Education in Nepal

  • Emily Oster
  • Rebecca Thornton

This paper presents the results from a randomized evaluation that distributed menstrual cups (menstrual sanitary products) to adolescent girls in rural Nepal. Girls in the study were randomly allocated a menstrual cup for use during their monthly period and were followed for fifteen months to measure the effects of having modern sanitary products on schooling. While girls were 3 percentage points less likely to attend school on days of their period, we find no significant effect of being allocated a menstrual cup on school attendance. There were also no effects on test scores, self-reported measures of self-esteem or gynecological health. These results suggest that policy claims that barriers to girls' schooling and activities during menstrual periods are due to lack of modern sanitary protection may not be warranted. On the other hand, sanitary products are quickly and widely adopted by girls and are convenient in other ways, unrelated to short-term schooling gains.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w14853.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14853.

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Date of creation: Apr 2009
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Publication status: published as Menstruation, Sanitary Products and School Attendance: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation (with Rebecca Thornton) American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, January 2011.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14853
Note: HE LS
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  1. Edward Miguel & Michael Kremer, 2004. "Worms: Identifying Impacts on Education and Health in the Presence of Treatment Externalities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(1), pages 159-217, 01.
  2. Parish, W.L. & Willis, R.J., 1992. "Daughters, Education, and Family Budgets: Taiwan Experiences," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 92-8, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
  3. Emily Oster, 2006. "Does Increased Access Increase Equality? Gender and Child Health Investments in India," NBER Working Papers 12743, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Gustavo J. Bobonis & Edward Miguel & Charu Puri-Sharma, 2006. "Anemia and School Participation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(4).
  5. Banerjee, Abhijit V., 2004. "Educational policy and the economics of the family," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 3-32, June.
  6. Michael Kremer & Edward Miguel & Rebecca Thornton, 2004. "Incentives to Learn," NBER Working Papers 10971, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Paul Glewwe, 1999. "Why Does Mother's Schooling Raise Child Health in Developing Countries? Evidence from Morocco," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(1), pages 124-159.
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