The Effect of Education on Teen Fertility: Evidence from the Abolition of School Fees in Ethiopia

Elina Pradhan, Harvard University

Teenage Birth is linked with various negative maternal and child health outcomes. This paper explores the causal relationship between years of schooling and probability of teenage birth using regression discontinuity approach. Exploiting a major educational policy change in Ethiopia in 1994 that abolished school fees for grades 1-10, we find that the policy change significantly increased years of schooling for women who reached school age covered by the policy compared to the women who just missed it. We also find that women with increased years of schooling due to the policy have significantly lower probability of giving birth before age 20. We find that completing lower primary school reduces the probability of a teenage birth by 0.24. The decline in teen fertility can be explained in part by lower probability of these educated women marrying or engaging in sex before 20.

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Presented in Poster Session 1