In this paper, we tackle the question of causality between early marriage and school dropout, using data from the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) from nine Southern and Eastern African countries. By comparing school participation patterns of girls who were married before or during the school year in question to those were never married, we are able to establish a sequence of events and therefore, a more solid foundation for treating marriage as a cause of school dropout. In short, the first research question for this paper is as follows: Research Question 1. How does a teenage girl’s marital status affect her participation in school? Research Question 2: Does the effect of marriage on school attendance vary by the girls’ relative household wealth, age, urban or rural residence (locality), and educational attainment?
Education Policy and Data Center
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