Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Seminar Papers,
Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies

No 744: Income Shocks and Gender Gaps in Education: Evidence from Uganda

Martina Björkman ()
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Martina Björkman: Institute for International Economic Studies, Stockholm University, Postal: Stockholm University, S-106 69 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: This paper uses exogenous variation in rainfall across districts in Uganda to estimate the causal effects of household income shocks to in children’s enrollment and cognitive skills conditional on gender. I find negative income shocks to have large negative and highly significant effects on female enrollment in primary schools and the effect grows stronger for older girls. The effect on boys’ enrollment is smaller and only marginally significant. Moreover, I find that a negative income shock has an adverse effect on test scores in general and test scores of female students in particular. The results imply that households respond to income shocks by varying the quantity and quality of girls’ education while boys are to a larger extent sheltered – a finding consistent with a model where parents’ values of child labor differ across sexes.

Keywords: Rainfall; education; test scores; gender

JEL-codes: D13; I21; O12

51 pages, March 2, 2006

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