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The impact of post-secondary education in Ethiopia

Work & Education Ethiopia

Photo credit: Julia Zarubina via Adobe Stock Images

Policy Context

Access to higher education in Ethiopia has greatly expanded, with post-secondary education enrollment increasing from just one percent in 2000 to ten percent in 2018, largely due to the Ethiopian Higher Education Reform in 2000. Women have particularly benefited, with anticipated further benefits of increased female participation in the labor market, increased income, and improved knowledge and effective use of contraceptive methods.

Previous studies have focused on primary and secondary education and have yielded mixed evidence on the relationship between education and fertility. This study aims to identify the link between higher education attainment and a reduction in fertility rates, as well as its implications for child health. By identifying the main channels through which higher education affects fertility and investments in child health, researchers seek to provide new evidence on the gender education gap.

Study Design

The study utilizes a regression discontinuity design (RDD) to estimate the causal effect of post-secondary education on fertility and child health outcomes in Ethiopia. The study compares women born before and after the 2000 higher education reform, with a focus on women who were 19 years old or younger in 2000 (younger cohort) and those who were 20 years or older (older cohorts).

Indicators measured include women’s outcomes (i.e. total fertility, mean birth interval, and labor market participation), child health outcomes (i.e. height-for-age, weight-for-age, infant mortality), and education outcomes, such as highest grade completed and completion of tertiary education.

Results and Policy Lessons

Results forthcoming.

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