The Effect of Urban Migration on Educational Attainment: Evidence from Africa
65 Pages Posted: 4 May 2021
Is rural to urban migration a viable way to improve the opportunities available to children? And does growing up in a developing world city raise educational attainment? Using census data on 14 African countries combined with an age-at-move design, I show that childhood exposure to cities significantly raises primary school completion, school attendance, and literacy rates. The results are robust to the inclusion of household fixed effects, visible within all subgroups and particularly large for girls. The findings suggest that rural to urban migration improves the opportunities available to children in developing countries. Furthermore, the paper highlights a channel through which urbanization can stimulate economic development, even in the absence of structural transformation.
Keywords: Urban migration, Human capital, Educational attainment
JEL Classification: I25, O18, R11
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