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Crossing boundaries : gender, caste and schooling in rural Pakistan

  • Jacoby, Hanan G.
  • Mansuri, Ghazala

Can communal heterogeneity explain persistent educational inequities in developing countries? The paper uses a novel data-set from rural Pakistan that explicitly recognizes the geographic structure of villages and the social makeup of constituent hamlets to show that demand for schooling is sensitive to the allocation of schools across ethnically fragmented communities. The analysis focuses on two types of social barriers: stigma based on caste affiliation and female seclusion that is more rigidly enforced outside a girl's own hamlet. Results indicate a substantial decrease in primary school enrollment rates for girls who have to cross hamlet boundaries to attend, irrespective of school distance, an effect not present for boys. However, low-caste children, both boys and girls, are deterred from enrolling when the most convenient school is in a hamlet dominated by high-caste households. In particular, low-caste girls, the most educationally disadvantaged group, benefit from improved school access only when the school is also caste-concordant. A policy experiment indicates that providing schools in low-caste dominant hamlets would increase overall enrollment by almost twice as much as a policy of placing a school in every unserved hamlet, and would do so at one-sixth of the cost.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5710.

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Date of creation: 01 Jun 2011
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5710
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  1. Jean Dr├Ęze & Geeta Gandhi Kingdon, 1999. "School Participation in Rural India," STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers 18, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
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  8. Robert Jensen, 2010. "The (Perceived) Returns to Education and the Demand for Schooling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(2), pages 515-548, May.
  9. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Schultz, T Paul, 1982. "Market Opportunities, Genetic Endowments, and Intrafamily Resource Distribution: Child Survival in Rural India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(4), pages 803-15, September.
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  12. Filmer, Deon & King, Elizabeth M. & Pritchett, Lant, 1998. "Gender disparity in South Asia : comparisons between and within countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1867, The World Bank.
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