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Cycling to School: Increasing Secondary School Enrollment for Girls in India

Author

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  • Karthik Muralidharan

    (University of California San Diego)

  • Nishith Prakash

    (University of Connecticut)

Abstract

We study the impact of an innovative program in the Indian state of Bihar that aimed to reduce the gender gap in secondary school enrollment by providing girls who continued to secondary school with a bicycle that would improve access to school. Using data from a large representative household survey, we employ a triple difference approach (using boys and the neighboring state of Jharkhand as comparison groups) and find that being in a cohort that was exposed to the Cycle program increased girls' age-appropriate enrollment in secondary school by 30% and also reduced the gender gap in age-appropriate secondary school enrollment by 40%. Parametric and non-parametric decompositions of the triple-difference estimate as a function of distance to the nearest secondary school show that the increases in enrollment mostly took place in villages where the nearest secondary school was further away, suggesting that the mechanism for program impact was the reduction in the time and safety cost of school attendance made possible by the bicycle. We find that the Cycle program was much more cost effective at increasing girls' enrolment than comparable conditional cash transfer programs in South Asia, suggesting that the coordinated provision of bicycles to girls may have generated externalities beyond the cash value of the program, including improved safety from girls cycling to school in groups, and changes in patriarchal social norms that proscribed female mobility outside the village, which inhibited female secondary school participation.

Suggested Citation

  • Karthik Muralidharan & Nishith Prakash, 2013. "Cycling to School: Increasing Secondary School Enrollment for Girls in India," Working papers 2013-24, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2013-24
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    Cited by:

    1. Adukia, Anjali & Asher, Samuel & Novosad, Paul, 2017. "Educational Investment Responses to Economic Opportunity: Evidence from Indian Road Construction," MPRA Paper 80194, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Blimpo, Moussa P. & Gajigo, Ousman & Pugatch, Todd, 2015. "Financial Constraints and Girls' Secondary Education: Evidence from School Fee Elimination in The Gambia," IZA Discussion Papers 9129, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Sarah Baird & Ephraim Chirwa & Jacobus de Hoop & Berk Özler, 2014. "Girl Power: Cash Transfers and Adolescent Welfare: Evidence from a Cluster-Randomized Experiment in Malawi," NBER Chapters,in: African Successes, Volume II: Human Capital, pages 139-164 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Eline Bos, 2016. "Leading by Example: What is the effect on educational outcomes of exposing girls, in addition to parents, to female role models?," CSAE Working Paper Series 2016-37, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    5. repec:eee:socmed:v:185:y:2017:i:c:p:171-178 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Hahn, Youjin & Hassani Mahmooei, Behrooz & Islam, Asadul & Patacchini, Eleonora & Zenou, Yves, 2016. "Do Friends Improve Female Education? The Case of Bangladesh," CEPR Discussion Papers 11615, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Jain, Tarun & Maitra, Pushkar & Mani, Subha, 2016. "Barriers to Skill Acquisition: Evidence from English Training in India," IZA Discussion Papers 10199, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Rajesh Chandy & Om Narasimhan, 2015. "Millions of Opportunities: An Agenda for Research in Emerging Markets," Customer Needs and Solutions, Springer;Institute for Sustainable Innovation and Growth (iSIG), vol. 2(4), pages 251-263, December.
    9. Asim,Salman & Chase,Robert S. & Dar,Amit & Schmillen,Achim Daniel, 2015. "Improving education outcomes in South Asia : findings from a decade of impact evaluations," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7362, The World Bank.
    10. Azam Mehtabul, 2016. "Intergenerational Educational Persistence among Daughters: Evidence from India," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 16(4), pages 1-16, October.
    11. Karthik Muralidharan & Ketki Sheth, 2016. "Bridging Education Gender Gaps in Developing Countries: The Role of Female Teachers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 51(2), pages 269-297.
    12. Kumar, Santosh & Prakash, Nishith, 2017. "Effect of political decentralization and female leadership on institutional births and child mortality in rural Bihar, India," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 185(C), pages 171-178.
    13. Youjin Hahn & Asadul Islam & Kanti Nuzhat & Russell Smyth & Hee-Seung Yang, 2018. "Education, Marriage, and Fertility: Long-Term Evidence from a Female Stipend Program in Bangladesh," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66(2), pages 383-415.
    14. Jyotsna Jha, 2016. "Reducing Child Marriage in India: A Model to Scale Up Results, New Delhi, 2016," Working Papers id:10580, eSocialSciences.
    15. Barrera-Osorio,Felipe & Blakeslee,David S. & Hoover,Matthew & Linden,Leigh & Raju,Dhushyanth & Ryan,Stephen P., 2017. "Delivering education to the underserved through a public-private partnership program in Pakistan," Policy Research Working Paper Series 8177, The World Bank.
    16. Jonathan Phillips, 2017. "Can Bihar Break the Clientelist Trap? The Political Effects of Programmatic Development Policy," Working Papers id:11965, eSocialSciences.
    17. Debanita Chatterjee & Shanmuga Priya T. & Puja Minni & Jyotsna Jha, 2016. "Reducing Child Marriage in India : A Model to Scale Up Results," Working Papers id:10380, eSocialSciences.
    18. Delavallade, Clara & Griffith, Alan & Shukla, Gaurav & Thornton, Rebecca, 2017. "Participation, learning, and equity in education: Can we have it all?," IFPRI discussion papers 1627, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Conditional transfers; school access; gender gaps; bicycle; girls' education; female empowerment; India; Bihar; MDG;

    JEL classification:

    • H42 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Publicly Provided Private Goods
    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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