The Role of Fertility in Achieving Africa’s Schooling MDGs

Sarah Giroux, Cornell University

The dividend framework proposes that as countries progress through their demographic transitions, improvements in dependency ratios create the potential for a demographic dividend. While many studies have examined the dividend in terms of macroeconomic gains, fewer have considered the relevance of these transitions for schooling. This analysis expands on previous work in several ways: First, it examines the relationship between fertility transitions and schooling outcomes at the national, policy relevant level. Second, it bypasses many of the problems associated with using cross-country regression by 1) conceptualizing the bonus as the change in schooling outcomes that occur between two time periods and 2) decomposing this change to quantify the importance of fertility transitions, as opposed to other factors. Third, it considers not only the variation in schooling, but formally estimates the inequality in schooling. Last, it uses a decomposition to identify substantive drivers of changes in inequality.

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Presented in Session 111: Interplay of Demographic Change, Public Policy, and Economic Outcomes in LDCs