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What did you do all day ? maternal education and child outcomes

Listed author(s):
  • Andrabi, Tahir
  • Das, Jishnu
  • Khwaja, Asim Ijaz

Female education levels are very low in many developing countries. Does maternal education have a causal impact on children's educational outcomes even at these very low levels of education? By combining a nationwide census of schools in Pakistan with household data, the authors use the availability of girls'schools in the mother's birth village as an instrument for maternal schooling to address this issue. Since public schools in Pakistan are segregated by gender, the instrument affects only maternal education rather than the education levels of both mothers and fathers. The analysis finds that children of mothers with some education spend 75 minutes more on educational activities at home compared with children whose mothers report no education at all. Mothers with some education also spend more time helping their children with school work; the effect is stronger (an extra 40 minutes per day) in families where the mother is likely the primary care-giver. Finally, test scores for children whose mothers have some education are higher in English, Urdu (the vernacular), and mathematics by 0.24-0.35 standard deviations. There is no relationship between maternal education and mother’s time spent on paid work or housework - a posited channel through which education affects bargaining power within the household. And there is no relationship between maternal education and the mother's role in educational decisions or in the provision of other child-specific goods, such as expenditures on pocket money, uniforms, and tuition. The data therefore suggest that at these very low levels of education, maternal education does not substantially affect a mother's bargaining power within the household. Instead, maternal education could directly increase the mother's productivity or affect her preferences toward children’s education in a context where her bargaining power is low.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5143.

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Date of creation: 01 Nov 2009
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5143
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  1. Pedro Carneiro & Costas Meghir & Matthias Parey, 2013. "Maternal Education, Home Environments, And The Development Of Children And Adolescents," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11, pages 123-160, 01.
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  4. Janet Currie & Enrico Moretti, 2003. "Mother's Education and the Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital: Evidence from College Openings," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1495-1532.
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  7. Das, Jishnu & Zajonc, Tristan, 2010. "India shining and Bharat drowning: Comparing two Indian states to the worldwide distribution in mathematics achievement," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(2), pages 175-187, July.
  8. Ariel Fiszbein & Norbert Schady & Francisco H.G. Ferreira & Margaret Grosh & Niall Keleher & Pedro Olinto & Emmanuel Skoufias, 2009. "Conditional Cash Transfers : Reducing Present and Future Poverty," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2597.
  9. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Shawn Cole & Esther Duflo & Leigh Linden, 2007. "Remedying Education: Evidence from Two Randomized Experiments in India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1235-1264.
  10. John Cawley & Feng Liu, 2007. "Mechanisms for the Association Between Maternal Employment and Child Cognitive Development," NBER Working Papers 13609, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Ravallion, Martin & Wodon, Quentin, 2000. "Does Child Labour Displace Schooling? Evidence on Behavioural Responses to an Enrollment Subsidy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages 158-175, March.
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  13. Suzanne Bianchi, 2000. "Maternal employment and time with children: Dramatic change or surprising continuity?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 37(4), pages 401-414, November.
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