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Menstruation and Education in Nepal

27 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2009 Last revised: 4 Aug 2010

Emily F. Oster

University of Chicago - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Rebecca L. Thornton

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Economics, Students

Date Written: April 2009

Abstract

This paper presents the results from a randomized evaluation that distributed menstrual cups (menstrual sanitary products) to adolescent girls in rural Nepal. Girls in the study were randomly allocated a menstrual cup for use during their monthly period and were followed for fifteen months to measure the effects of having modern sanitary products on schooling. While girls were 3 percentage points less likely to attend school on days of their period, we find no significant effect of being allocated a menstrual cup on school attendance. There were also no effects on test scores, self-reported measures of self-esteem or gynecological health. These results suggest that policy claims that barriers to girls' schooling and activities during menstrual periods are due to lack of modern sanitary protection may not be warranted. On the other hand, sanitary products are quickly and widely adopted by girls and are convenient in other ways, unrelated to short-term schooling gains.

Suggested Citation

Oster, Emily F. and Thornton, Rebecca L., Menstruation and Education in Nepal (April 2009). NBER Working Paper No. w14853. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1376156

Emily F. Oster (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Department of Economics ( email )

1126 East 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Rebecca L. Thornton

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Economics, Students ( email )

Champaign, IL
United States

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