DP16568 Less School (Costs), More (Female) Education? Lessons from Egypt Reducing Years of Compulsory Schooling

Author(s): Ahmed Elsayed, Olivier Marie
Publication Date: September 2021
Keyword(s): Bride Price, Education Investment, Egypt, Female Labor Market, Gender bias, Marriage, School Costs
JEL(s): I21, I25, J24, O55
Programme Areas: Labour Economics, Development Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=16568

Exploiting a unique policy reform in Egypt that reduced the number of years of compulsory schooling, we show that it unexpectedly increased education attainment. This impact is almost entirely driven by girls from more disadvantaged households staying in school longer. Treated women later experienced important positive improvements in labor market opportunity and marriage quality, as measured by bride price received and household bargaining power. We reject changes in school quality as a driving mechanism and attribute the increased investment in girl's human capitcal to adjustments by credit-constrained families when school costs dropped combined with strongly non-linear returns to female education.