Risk and Schooling Decisions in Rural Madagascar: A Panel Data-Analysis
Posted: 30 Jun 2008
Date Written: March 2008
Most households in rural Madagascar are engaged in agriculture and derive a large share of their income from the production of food or cash crops and from animal husbandry. However, agricultural yields can be extremely volatile due to weather conditions, pests, insects, rodents and other calamities. As a result, households record large fluctuations in their incomes that must be dealt with. Since the usual consumption-smoothing market mechanisms are quite limited in the Malagasy context, households need to rely on non-market mechanisms or to adopt multi-faceted strategies to cope with risk. In this paper, we examine the possibility that parents obtain informal income insurance by letting their children work. We test this hypothesis by examining the relationship between household income shocks and human capital investment in children. In particular, we investigate whether children's propensity to join school and to drop out of school responds to transient shocks. We also investigate issues such as gender and intrahousehold resource allocation.
JEL Classification: D91, I21, J24, O55
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation