Schooling, Marriage, and Age at First Birth in Madagascar

Published in: Population Studies, v. 69, no. 2, 2015, p. 219-236

Posted on RAND.org on October 31, 2016

by Peter Glick, Christopher Handy, David E Sahn

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The low school attainment, early marriage, and low age at first birth of females are major policy concerns in less developed countries. This study jointly estimated the determinants of educational attainment, marriage age, and age at first birth among females aged 12–25 in Madagascar, explicitly accounting for the endogeneities that arose from modelling these related outcomes simultaneously. An additional year of schooling results in a delay to marriage of 1.5 years and marrying 1 year later delays age at first birth by 0.5 years. Parents' education and wealth also have important effects on schooling, marriage, and age at first birth, with a woman's first birth being delayed by 0.75 years if her mother had 4 additional years of schooling. Overall, our results provide rigorous evidence for the critical role of education &mdash both individual women's own and that of their parents — in delaying the marriage and fertility of young women.

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