The Role of Family, Community, and Health Status in the Educational Aspirations of Ethiopian Youth

Optat H Tengia, Brown University
Craig Hadley, Emory University

In this paper we examine the influence of parental and community resources on youths’ educational aspirations in the context of Ethiopia. We expand on models developed to explain educational aspirations in high income countries, by including the potentially important role of individual health status and perceptions of health risks. In low income contexts where under-nutrition, chronic illness, and infectious and debilitating diseases remain widespread, youth may discount the value of education based on perceptions of vulnerability in the future to debilitating health conditions. We use a two-step Heckman selection model to estimate the impact of individual, household and community factors on adolescent educational aspirations, adjusting for in-school status. The paper uses data for 2,083 youth age 13-17 from a longitudinal survey conducted in 18 rural, semi-urban, and urban communities in southwestern Ethiopia. Preliminary results suggest that boys’ educational aspirations are more sensitive to perceptions of health risks than girls’.

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Presented in Poster Session 5