Impact of a Severe Drought on Education: More Schooling but Less Learning

31 Pages Posted: 10 Jun 2020

See all articles by Ardyn Nordstrom

Ardyn Nordstrom

Queen's University - Department of Economics

Christopher Cotton

Queen's University, Department of Economics

Date Written: May 15, 2020

Abstract

From October 2015 to April 2016, Southern Africa experienced one of the severest droughts in history. The drought's intensity varied significantly across locations. This provides a natural experiment to estimate the effect of large, negative agricultural shocks. We consider the impact of this shock on children’s educational outcomes using data from rural Zimbabwe. Those who experienced the drought may suffer from decreases in income and food access. This can affect household resource allocation and schooling decisions while exposing individuals to stress and uncertainty. We find the drought increases the probability that students advance in school, a seemingly positive impact, likely due to lower opportunity costs to education. The drought also led to a significant decline in performance on mathematics assessments and leadership attitudes, suggesting stress or other factors associated with a drought more than offset increases in attendance. This highlights the importance of using multiple indicators in education evaluations.

Keywords: Education, droughts, agriculture, economic development, natural experiment, impact measurement

JEL Classification: I25, Q54, O13, O15

Suggested Citation

Nordstrom, Ardyn and Cotton, Christopher, Impact of a Severe Drought on Education: More Schooling but Less Learning (May 15, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3601834 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3601834

Ardyn Nordstrom

Queen's University - Department of Economics ( email )

99 University Avenue
Kingston K7L 3N6, Ontario
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://ardyn.ca

Christopher Cotton (Contact Author)

Queen's University, Department of Economics ( email )

Dunning Hall 230
Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N6
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://www.christophercotton.ca

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
4
Abstract Views
61
PlumX Metrics