The Effects of Female Education on Adolescent Pregnancy and Child Health: Evidence from Uganda fs Universal Primary Education for Fully Treated Cohorts
Kazuya Masuda () and
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Kazuya Masuda: Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University
No 17-01, GRIPS Discussion Papers from National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies
Early pregnancy poses serious medical risk and economic burden to mother and neonatal children. While Economics literature generally explains negative relationship between female schooling and early fertility, it remains unclear whether this reflects a causal relationship. To fill in such a gap in literature, this paper examines the impact of female education on adolescent fertility, health investment behavior and the health status of their children in Uganda, focusing on the fully treated cohorts whose fees were abolished by Universal Primary Education policy (UPE) just before they entered schools. 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-program rates of completing primary education. We 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 immunization more often, and had lower probability that their child dies before 12 months after the birth. These results indicate that promoting the access to primary education among girls is an effective program to reduce adolescent pregnancy. It also shows the important role of maternal education in breaking the cycle of intergenerational transmission of the poor health in least developing countries by reducing child mortality. This in turn underscores the importance of considering the widespread benefits of female education in shaping the policy and institution influencing educational attainment.
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