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The Effect of the Universal Primary Education Program on Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from Tanzania


  • Esther Delesalle


The purpose of this article is to study the effect of education on labor market participation and household consumption in a rural environment. The Tanzanian Universal Primary Education (UPE) program, which provides variations in education across locations and over time, is used as a natural experiment. Exploiting these two exogenous variations to instrument education, I find that education increases household consumption, especially in agriculture and in nonfarm self-employment activities. I also provide evidence that education increases the probability of working in agriculture. These results, initially surprising, suggest that returns to education in agriculture are positive, provided that the skills taught at school are suitable for agriculture.

Suggested Citation

  • Esther Delesalle, 2019. "The Effect of the Universal Primary Education Program on Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from Tanzania," NBER Working Papers 25789, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:25789
    Note: DEV ED

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    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O22 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Project Analysis

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