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Child Ability and Household Human Capital Investment Decisions in Burkina Faso

36 Pages Posted: 22 Nov 2010  

Richard Akresh

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Emilie Bagby

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Damien de Walque

World Bank; World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Harounan Kazianga

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater

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Abstract

Using data we collected in rural Burkina Faso, we examine how children's cognitive abilities influence resource constrained households' decisions to invest in their education. We use a direct measure of child ability for all primary school-aged children, regardless of current school enrollment. We explicitly incorporate direct measures of the ability of each child's siblings (both absolute and relative measures) to show how sibling rivalry exerts an impact on the parent's decision of whether and how much to invest in their childメs education. We find children with one standard deviation higher own ability are 16 percent more likely to be currently enrolled, while having a higher ability sibling lowers current enrollment by 16 percent and having two higher ability siblings lowers enrollment by 30 percent. Results are robust to addressing the potential reverse causality of schooling influencing child ability measures and using alternative cognitive tests to measure ability.

Keywords: child ability, sibling rivalry, education, household decisions, Africa

JEL Classification: O15, J12, I21, J13

Suggested Citation

Akresh, Richard and Bagby, Emilie and de Walque, Damien and Kazianga, Harounan, Child Ability and Household Human Capital Investment Decisions in Burkina Faso. IZA Discussion Paper No. 5326. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1712633

Richard Akresh (Contact Author)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ( email )

601 E John St
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Emilie Bagby

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

601 E John St
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

Damien De Walque

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

HOME PAGE: http://econ.worldbank.org/staff/ddewalque

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Harounan Kazianga

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater ( email )

Stillwater, OK 74078-0555
United States

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