The Effect of Female Education on Adolescent Reproductive Health in Bangladesh

Aiko Hattori, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Peter M. Lance, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Gustavo Angeles, National Institute of Public Health (INSP), Mexico and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Female education has been found to influence fertility. The effect of education, however, may be estimated incorrectly due to endogeneity of female education caused by unobserved variables at the community and individual levels. This study estimates the causal effect of female education on adolescent reproductive health outcomes in Bangladesh by applying instrumental variables (IV) constructed from education programs introduced nationwide in Bangladesh in the 1990s. Using integrated data from the 2007 Demographic and Health Survey, the population census, and the secondary education institution census, we find that female education significantly delays marriage and childbearing, and reduces fertility during adolescence in Bangladesh. The IV estimates of the effect of female education on age at first marriage and first live birth are significantly different from the ordinary least squares (OLS) estimates. The education programs are found to have improved adolescent reproductive health by enhancing female education in Bangladesh.

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Presented in Session 194: Education and Health