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The impact of education on women’s preferences for gender equality: Evidence from Sierra Leone
Authors: Colin Cannonier, and Naci Mocan
Source: Journal of Demographic Economics, 84(1): 3-40; DOI: 10.1017/dem.2016.12
Topic(s): Education
Women's status
Women’s empowerment
Country: Africa
  Sierra Leone
Published: MAR 2018
Abstract: We use data from Sierra Leone where a substantial education program provided increased access to education for primary-school age children but did not benefit children who were older. We exploit the variation in access to the program generated by date of birth and the variation in resources between various districts of the country. We find that an increase in schooling, triggered by the program, has an impact on women's attitudes toward matters that impact women's health and on attitudes regarding violence against women. An increase in education reduces the number of desired children by women and increases their propensity to use modern contraception and to be tested for AIDS. While education makes women more intolerant of practices that conflict with their well-being, increased education has no impact on men's attitudes toward women's well-being. Thus, it is unclear whether the change in attitudes would translate into behavioral changes. Consistent with this finding, education (on this margin) has no impact on women's propensity to get married, their age at first marriage or age at first birth.