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Parental divorces and children’s educational outcomes in Senegal

Juliette Crespin-Boucaud and Rozenn Hotte ()

World Development, 2021, vol. 145, issue C

Abstract: This paper provides new evidence on the consequences of parental divorce for children in Africa. Using survey data that collected the detailed life histories of Senegalese women and of their children, we investigate how children’s educational outcomes are affected by their parents’ divorce. We use a sibling fixed-effects strategy that allows us to control for all the factors that are common to all children in a family, such as parental preferences regarding education or the level of education of the parents, alleviating concerns of omitted variable bias. We compare children who were old enough to have been enrolled in primary school at the time of the divorce to their younger siblings, for whom enrollment decisions had not yet been made at the time of the divorce. We find that younger siblings were more likely than their older siblings to have attended primary school. This higher level of investment does not persist in the long run: there are no differences between siblings when considering primary school completion. We find that custody and fostering decisions do not seem to mediate the positive effects on school attendance. Our findings are consistent with either an improvement of the financial situation (due to remarriage) or an increase in the decision-making power of mothers after the divorce.

Keywords: Divorce; Education; Africa; Children (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I25 J12 J13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2021.105483

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