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How Does Female Education Reduce Adolescent Pregnancy and Improve Child Health?: Evidence from Uganda’s Universal Primary Education for Fully Treated Cohorts

Kazuya Masuda and Chikako Yamauchi

Journal of Development Studies, 2020, vol. 56, issue 1, 63-86

Abstract: This paper examines the impact of female education on adolescent fertility, the health status of their children, and the mechanism through which education affects these outcomes. To address the endogeneity of educational attainment, we utilise Universal Primary Education policy (UPE) in Uganda. Education is instrumented by the interaction between across-cohorts differences in exposure to UPE and the differences in its effective benefits across districts with varying pre-programme rates of completing primary education. We particularly focus on the fully treated cohorts whose fees were abolished before they entered school. Results show that attending an additional year of schooling reduces the probability of marriage and that of giving birth before age 18 by 7.0–7.2 percentage points. Among those who become mothers, educated women use maternal care and infant immunisation more often, and had lower probability that their child dies before 18 months after birth. These effects are likely to arise because educated women tend to be literate and prefer to have fewer children. They exhibit better knowledge about reproductive issues. Weak evidence is found for an increase in the probability of working in the non-agricultural sector. No evidence is, however, found for assortative mating, and evidence for improved bargaining power is mixed.

Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1080/00220388.2018.1546844

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