Education policies, skill formation, and gender inequality in developing countries

Project partners: Ahmed Elsayed (IZA), Olivier Marie (Erasmus University Rotterdam), Daniel Rodríguez (Potsdam University), Rania Roushdy (American University in Cairo), Alina Shirshikova (University of Bonn)

Investment in human capital is believed to be key for economic growth and escaping poverty. It leads to better labor market opportunities, and higher levels of social empowerment for disadvantaged groups. However, in developing countries, investments in skill formation are often constrained by tight household budgets.

In this project, we aim at analyzing the role of educational policy in alleviating these constraints both in formal and informal education. We focus on policies that aim to reduce the costs of education. These costs can include both direct costs such as fees, but also indirect opportunity costs in the form of foregone earnings of children through child labor or domestic work, or stigma associated with women’s education. The project pays extra attention on gender disparities, and how these policies might lead to the social and economic empowering of women. Further, the project emphasizes effects on long-term labor and marriage market outcomes, and on spillovers on later generations.