Adolescent Pregnancy and Education Trajectories in Malawi

Satvika Chalasani, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
Christine A. Kelly, Population Council
Barbara S. Mensch, Population Council
Erica Soler-Hampejsek, Population Council

Childbearing among adolescent girls in sub-Saharan Africa remains high, while access to and use of contraception is low. This paper uses longitudinal data from five rounds of the Malawi Schooling and Adolescent Survey to investigate how a young woman’s education trajectory might be different if she could avoid pregnancy while in school. Employing multiple strategies to overcome potential endogeneity between pregnancy and education, we estimate the effect of pregnancy on enrollment, grade attainment, literacy, and numeracy. Preliminary results show that pregnancy is commonly cited as a reason for not attending school, and that girls who miss one or more school terms due to pregnancy are less likely to return than their counterparts who drop out for other reasons. However, girls who left school due to pregnancy do not appear to be a selective group of sexually active girls with respect either to ability and aspirations or to background characteristics.

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Presented in Poster Session 4