WPS5370
Policy Research Working Paper 5370
Child Ability and Household Human
Capital Investment Decisions
in Burkina Faso
Richard Akresh
Emilie Bagby
Damien de Walque
Harounan Kazianga
The World Bank
Development Research Group
Human Development and Public Services Team
July 2010
Policy Research Working Paper 5370
Abstract
Using data they collected in rural Burkina Faso, the in their child's education. The findings indicate that
authors examine how children's cognitive abilities children with one standard deviation higher own ability
influence resource constrained households' decisions to are 16 percent more likely to be currently enrolled, while
invest in their education. This paper uses a direct measure having a higher ability sibling lowers current enrollment
of child ability for all primary school-aged children, by 16 percent and having two higher ability siblings
regardless of current school enrollment. The analysis lowers enrollment by 30 percent. The results are robust
explicitly incorporates direct measures of the ability of to addressing the potential reverse causality of schooling
each child's siblings (both absolute and relative measures) influencing child ability measures and using alternative
to show how sibling rivalry exerts an impact on the cognitive tests to measure ability.
parents' decision of whether and how much to invest
This paper--a product of the Human Development and Public Services Team, Development Research Group--is part of
a larger effort in the department to better understand the determinants of education decisions. Policy Research Working
Papers are also posted on the Web at http://econ.worldbank.org. The authors may be contacted at ddewalque@worldbank.
org, akresh@illinois.edu , emilie.bagby@gmail.com and harounan.kazianaga@okstate.edu.
The Policy Research Working Paper Series disseminates the findings of work in progress to encourage the exchange of ideas about development
issues. An objective of the series is to get the findings out quickly, even if the presentations are less than fully polished. The papers carry the
names of the authors and should be cited accordingly. The findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed in this paper are entirely those
of the authors. They do not necessarily represent the views of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/World Bank and
its affiliated organizations, or those of the Executive Directors of the World Bank or the governments they represent.
Produced by the Research Support Team
Child Ability and Household Human Capital Investment Decisions
in Burkina Faso
Richard Akresh Emilie Bagby
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Damien de Walque Harounan Kazianga
The World Bank Oklahoma State University
.
Keywords: Education; Sibling Rivalry; Child Ability; Household Decisions; Africa
JEL classification: O15, J12, I21, J13
* The data used in this paper were collected for an ongoing project evaluating social protection strategies in Burkina
Faso. The project greatly benefited from the support and guidance of Marie-Claire Damiba, Seydou Kabré and
Victorine Yameogo from the Secrétariat Permanent du Comité National de Lutte contre le SIDA et les Infections
Sexuellement Transmissibles (SP-CNLS-IST) in Burkina Faso and Hans Binswanger, Nono Ayivi-Guedehoussou,
Ousmane Haidara, Timothy Johnston, Mead Over and Tshiya Subayi-Cuppen at the World Bank. The data
collection was supervised by Robert Ouedraogo, Jean-Pierre Sawadogo, Bambio Yiriyibin and Pam Zahonogo from
the University of Ouagadougou, Department of Economics. This project is funded by the NBER Africa Project and
grants from the following World Bank trust funds: Strategic Impact Evaluation Fund (SIEF), Bank-Netherlands
Partnership Program (BNPP), Gender Action Plan (GAP), Knowledge for Change Program (KCP) and Luxembourg
Poverty Reduction Partnership (LPRP). The authors would also like to thank Kathy Baylis, Don Fullerton, Craig
Gundersen, Christopher Ksoll, Nolan Miller, Elizabeth Powers, and participants at the T. Paul Schultz Festschrift
conference and seminars at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for helpful comments on earlier drafts.
The findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed in this paper are entirely those of the authors. They do not
necessarily represent the views of the World Bank, its Executive Directors, or the countries they represent.
Richard Akresh, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Economics, 1407 West Gregory Drive,
David Kinley Hall, Room 411, Urbana, IL 61801.Email: akresh@illinois.edu;
Emilie Bagby, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Economics, 1407 West Gregory Drive,
David Kinley Hall, Room 410, Urbana, IL 61801. Email: ebagby2@illinois.edu;
Damien de Walque, The World Bank, Development Research Group, 1818 H Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.,
20433. Email: ddewalque@worldbank.org;
Harounan Kazianga, Oklahoma State University, Department of Economics, 327 Business Building, Stillwater, OK
74708. Email: harounan.kazianga@okstate.edu
1. Introduction
Parental decisions about whether and how much to invest in their children's human capital
depend on many factors, and these decisions have long-lasting impacts on each child's future
earnings, marital prospects, and overall welfare. A large literature attempts to understand the
source of inequalities for children's educational investments within a household building on
seminal work by Becker and Tomes (1976) that delineates the tradeoff between the quantity of
children and their `quality.' In making the schooling investment decision, parents will have
information about a child's ability and that information will often not be available to researchers,
which partly explains why much of the empirical research on the determinants of household
investments in children's schooling focuses on easy to observe demographic characteristics of
the child such as gender, birth order, and family composition (Parish and Willis 1993; Garg and
Morduch 1998; Black, Devereux, and Salvanes 2005).1 More recent papers attempt to use direct
measurements of a child's ability such as IQ scores (Kim 2005), cognitive tests (Ayalew 2005),
or achievement tests (Glick and Sahn 2010) to better understand which factors influence
investment decisions.
In this paper, we build on the seminal empirical work by Rosenzweig and Schultz (1982)
to examine the role that a child's cognitive ability plays in a resource constrained household's
decision to invest in that child's education. For poor households seeking to maximize the returns
to their human capital investments, schooling decisions will depend on parent perceptions about
the returns to school for a given child and that child's ability. In a setting where few households
ever enroll all of their children in school, as is true in many developing countries, understanding
1
See Strauss and Thomas (1995) and Glewwe and Kremer (2006) for reviews of the literature. Related research
explores the relationship between these demographic characteristics and the non-schooling outcomes of employment
(Kessler 1991), risky behaviors (Aizer 2004), and child labor (Emerson and Souza 2008). Price (2008) examines the
amount of quality time parents spend with each child as a potential mechanism to explain birth order effects.
2
the link between child ability and school enrollment and school continuation decisions is critical
for developing policy prescriptions to improve educational outcomes.
We make four main contributions to the literature on explaining household school
investment decisions. First, we employ direct measures of a child's ability for all children of
primary school age (5 to 15), regardless of whether or not they are currently enrolled in school.
We use the Raven's Colored Progressive Matrices (CPM) and the Weschler Intelligence Scales
(WISC) Digit Span as measures of a child's cognitive ability. Second, our paper is unique in
explicitly incorporating direct measures of the ability of each child's siblings (both absolute and
relative measures) and to show how sibling ability `rivalry' exerts a strong impact on the parents'
decision of which child to send to school. Third, the survey instrument asks parents to provide
their perceptions about the likely chances of future economic success for each of their children.
We show that a similar pattern of sibling rivalry is observed using either these parent perceptions
or the externally validated cognitive ability tests measuring child ability. Fourth, we address
potential concerns about schooling influencing measures of child ability by exploiting the panel
data structure and focusing on the relationship between the enrollment decision in the survey's
second year and the ability measures observed in the survey's first year for the subset of young
children who were not enrolled and not yet of typical school age in the first year.
We explore both the extensive margin of school enrollment during the 2007-2008 school
year and grade progression measures, as well as the intensive margin of school related expenses.
We find that a child with a one standard deviation higher ability test score has a 16 percent
higher likelihood of being currently enrolled in school, while a child with a higher ability sibling
is 16 percent less likely to be currently enrolled and having two higher ability siblings lowers a
child's probability of enrollment by 30 percent. Household fixed effects regressions show that
3
within a given household, a child with one standard deviation higher ability compared to the
average ability of their siblings is 31 percent more likely to be enrolled. On the intensive margin,
controlling for household fixed effects, we find that a child with one standard deviation higher
ability receives 20 percent more discretionary school expenditures by the parents.
The remainder of the paper is organized as follows. Section 2 discusses the conceptual
framework about sibling rivalry and the household schooling investment decision. Section 3
describes the survey data used in the analysis and explains the construction of the different child
ability measures. Section 4 describes the empirical identification strategy and section 5 presents
the main results as well as robustness tests. Section 6 concludes.
2. Sibling Rivalry Conceptual Framework
A number of studies examine the interaction of siblings to understand schooling outcomes and
why girls often receive less education than their brothers. Butcher and Case (1994), using United
States data that contains explicit information on an individual's completed education and the
education of their brothers and sisters, find that women with only brothers receive significantly
more education on average than women with any sisters.2 Their finding differs from what is
typically found in developing country studies. Parish and Willis (1993) examine how sibling sex
composition influences girls' education in Taiwan. They emphasize that cultural traditions
favoring male descent can cause parents to manipulate daughters for the benefit of their sons.
Garg and Morduch (1998) emphasize sibling rivalry using data from Ghana. Child education
decisions in credit constrained households are influenced by the number of children they have,
resource dilution, and the sex composition of their children, sibling rivalry. Resource dilution
2
They highlight three potential explanations for why sibling sex composition might influence education decisions:
sibling resource competition, sex-typing of tasks, and peer effects. Resource competition occurs if boys and girls
have different relative prices for educational investments or investment returns. Sex-typing stems from parents
sending messages to children describing appropriate behaviors and goals, while peer effects come from children
developing traits that depend on how they interact with their siblings.
4
occurs because more children imply fewer resources per child and credit constraints limit the
family's ability to borrow against future returns. Sibling rivalry occurs because all children
benefit from having fewer educated siblings with comparatively higher returns on investment.
Resource dilution and sibling rivalry in educational investments in poor countries is well
documented. In addition to the Taiwan and Ghana studies, the list includes: Binder (1998) for
Mexico, Morduch (2000) for Tanzania, Edmonds (2007) for Nepal, Ota and Moffatt (2007) for
India, and Dammert (2010) for Guatemala and Nicaragua. While Garg and Morduch focus on
credit constraints and differences in relative returns to education as the cause for sibling rivalry,
Edmonds (2007) emphasizes that comparative advantage in home production can lead to similar
implications when girls have comparative advantage and it is not possible to hire labor for home
production. Both Edmonds (2007) and Dammert (2010) find evidence consistent with this sibling
rivalry interpretation.
Such models of sibling rivalry neglect that parents have additional knowledge about their
children's capabilities and use this information to make school investment decisions. A literature
embedded in testing the one-period consensus parental preferences model of human capital
investment of Becker and Tomes (1976) and Behrman, Pollack, and Taubman (1982) uses child
endowments in modeling the investment decision.3 Most studies that examine the investment
decision process have to work around the fact that actual child ability or endowment is typically
not observed (Rosenzweig and Schultz 1982; Behrman, Pollack and Taubman 1982; Behrman,
Rosenzweig and Taubman 1994). Some recent studies are able to use direct measures of child
ability. Kim (2005) uses an IQ test administered to Wisconsin high school juniors and finds that
higher ability children receive more parent transfers. Glick and Sahn (2010) use achievement test
scores from Senegalese children taken in Grade 2 to explain school outcomes seven years later.
3
See Behrman (1997) for an overview of the consensus parental preferences models.
5
The most closely related paper to ours is by Ayalew (2005) who uses Raven's CPM test
scores for school-age children in one village in Ethiopia to measure child ability and using a
household fixed effects model finds that parents consider child ability when making school
enrollment decisions. There are several key differences between our papers. First, we focus on
absolute and relative direct measures of the ability of a child's siblings to generate inferences
about the role of sibling rivalry in influencing schooling decisions. Second, we explore both
alternative ability measures by using different cognitive tests and alternative outcomes such as
school expenditures and grade progression, in addition to current enrollment, which is the focus
of the Ayalew paper. Third, we exploit the panel data structure as a robustness check to address
potential reverse causality concerns about schooling influencing measures of child ability.
3. Burkina Faso Social Protection Evaluation Survey
The panel survey was conducted in June 2008 (Year 1) and June 2009 (Year 2) in Nahouri
province in southern Burkina Faso, located approximately 100 miles from the capital and
bordering Ghana. Households were randomly selected from a village-level census conducted by
our project team immediately prior to the Round 1 survey in the 75 rural villages of Nahouri
province that each has a primary school. The survey is part of an ongoing project evaluating
social protection strategies in Burkina Faso. Households in this region are predominantly
subsistence farmers growing sorghum and groundnuts and have mean annual per capita
expenditures of approximately $90.
Our analysis focuses on primary school-aged children ages 5 to 15 in households with
multiple biological children. There are 4,635 children in this age range in 1,507 different
households. Poor households were oversampled for our survey; 89 percent of the sample is
considered poor, an assignment based on a series of ten questions in the village census conducted
6
prior to the household survey. As shown in Table 1, parental schooling is low, with only 13
percent of the children having a parent that ever attended school. Fifty-four percent of this
children's sample is male and the average age is 9.4 years old. On average, these children have
3.8 siblings under age 15, including 1.8 sisters. They live in households with an average of 8.9
individuals, including a head of household, 1.5 wives, 4.8 biological children of the household
head under age 15, 0.4 children under age 15 that are not the biological children of the head, and
1.2 other members that include grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other extended family members.
Parents were directly asked about the chance of future success they believe each of their
children will have in formal employment, a reasonable measure of parental perceptions about the
investment return on their child's education, since most jobs in "formal employment" in Burkina
Faso require a level of education beyond primary school and in particular French skills.4 This
parental perception measure is based on everything the parent knows about the child and about
the labor market, whether right or wrong, and was asked about every child in the household. For
each child, the parents responded whether that particular child had a `small', `medium', `large',
or `very large' chance of future success in formal employment. Parents considered 25 percent of
these children to have a `small' chance of future success and only 8 percent to have a `very large'
chance of future success. Parents viewed most children (67 percent) to have a `medium' (38
percent) or `large' (29 percent) chance of future success.
To corroborate these parent perceptions, we also consider externally validated measures
about a child. We use the Raven's CPM and the WISC Digit Span to measure a child's cognitive
ability; both are tests that do not require formal schooling to be able to answer the questions. The
Raven's CPM is a measure of fluid intelligence or problem solving ability. The test does not
4
Schultz (2004) and Kazianga (2004) using Burkina Faso nationally representative data report substantial returns (9
to 16 percent) for an additional year of primary school, highlighting the importance of schooling in this context.
Returns to secondary (14 to 26 percent) and tertiary (13 to 23 percent) schooling are even higher.
7
depend heavily on verbal skills, making it relatively "culture free" (Borghans, Duckworth,
Heckman, and Weel 2008). In Figure 1 Panel A, we show two sample problems from the
Raven's test (Raven, Raven, and Court 1998). The child respondent is asked to select the image
that is missing in order to complete the picture. This type of question is novel to the children in
Nahouri Province, thus providing a more natural or true measure of problem solving skills.
We ask 18 questions from the Raven's CPM and on average, children in our sample
answer 4.9 questions correctly.5 Younger children answer fewer questions correctly than older
children (the average number correct for children age 5 is 2.8 and for children age 15 is 7.6).6 To
control for this relationship between age and raw test scores, we calculate a z-score for each
child measured as the child's raw test score minus the average score for the same age children
divided by the standard deviation of test scores for children of that age.7 Therefore, the mean of
the Raven's z-score is zero and the standard deviation is one for each age and across all ages.8
The WISC Digit Span is a measure of working memory and ability to concentrate and has
both a forward and backward component. The respondent repeats a string of numbers to the
enumerator and is scored by whether or not they repeat the full string correctly as shown in
Figure 1 Panel B (Weschler 1974). In the Digit Span Forward, the child must repeat the string of
numbers exactly as stated by the enumerator. The string of numbers increases in length as the
child answers correctly. With the Digit Span Backward, similar strings of numbers are to be
repeated in the reverse order from that stated by the enumerator until the child can no longer
5
During extensive pretesting of the Raven's test, results were consistent whether children were asked the entire set
of 36 questions or only the odd-numbered questions, so to save interview time we only administered the 18 odd-
numbered questions (Sets A, Ab, and B).
6
The average number of questions answered correctly for children ages 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14 is
respectively 2.8, 3.6, 4.4, 5.1, 5.3, 5.6, 6.1, 6.5, and 6.4.
7
We did not use the international Raven's norming standards since we asked a subset of the Raven's test and what is
most important here is how the children in rural Burkina Faso compare to each other, not internationally.
8
Note that in Section 5.2, we estimate alternative specifications to test the robustness of using the Raven's age-
adjusted z-score instead of the raw test scores.
8
continue. We calculate a total combined score of the forward and backward digit spans.9 As with
the Raven, we calculate a WISC Digit Span age-adjusted z-score to control for age effects.
In Table 1, we present summary statistics about children's schooling. Few households in
rural Burkina Faso ever enroll all of their children. Only 54 percent of children are enrolled in
the 2007-2008 school year. Fifty-six percent of households experience variation in enrollment
among their children age 5 to 15, while 17 percent enroll no children and only 27 percent of
households currently enroll all of their primary school-aged children. If we consider whether a
child has ever been enrolled in school rather than current enrollment during 2007-2008, then 59
percent of children in the sample have ever been enrolled and 54 percent of households
experience variation across their children in whether a child has ever been enrolled. Given these
low enrollment rates, on average these children only have completed 1.8 years of school.
In addition to examining the relationship between parent perceptions, child ability and
school enrollment, we explore three alternative schooling-related outcomes (on-time start, grade
progression, and discretionary school expenses) where sibling rivalry might matter. In Burkina
Faso, parents typically enroll their children starting at age seven, so we construct a variable to
indicate if children started school by this age or if they were delayed. The `on-time start' variable
shows that only 40 percent of primary school-aged children start school by age seven, with the
rest either starting at a later age or never attending school. Fifty-four percent of households have
variation across their children in terms of whether each child started school by age seven.
Second, we consider grade progression through school, which we calculate by dividing the
child's highest grade attended by the number of years since the child started school.10 The grade
progression measure ranges from zero to one, with higher numbers indicating quicker progress
9
Our regression results are robust to keeping the forward and backward digit span scores separate.
10
For children who never attended school, they are assigned a grade progression measure of zero.
9
towards completing primary school. Third, for each child we calculate the total schooling-related
discretionary expenditures during the 2007-2008 school year. We focus on those schooling
expenditures where parents have discretion in the amount spent and include school supplies and
parent association fees. On average for all currently enrolled primary-school aged children,
parents spent 845 FCFA on these discretionary items per child during the school year (about
$2.04 using the June 2008 exchange rate of 415 FCFA = $1 USD).
4. Empirical Identification Strategy
4.1 Econometric Specification
Studies of sibling rivalry in education typically use counts of the number of siblings and the
number of sisters that a child has to explain different schooling outcomes (attendance,
enrollment, attainment) as follows:
(1) eih 0 S ih 1 Fih 0 X ih 1 Z h ih
where eih is the educational outcome for child i in household h, Sih is a count of the number of
siblings the child has, Fih is a count of the number of female siblings the child has, Xih is a vector
of individual characteristics such as age and gender that might influence parental investments, Zh
is a vector of household characteristics, and ih is a random, idiosyncratic error term. The
interpretation of 0 is the change in eih associated with an additional male sibling. The
interpretation of 1 is the change in eih associated with the thought experiment of converting a
sibling from a male to a female. 0 + 1 is then the change in eih associated with adding an
additional female sibling. This approach takes current family size and composition as given at
the time the parents make the enrollment decision.
To better understand the parental schooling investment decision, we expand on the
sibling rivalry model in Equation 1 to control for previously unobserved characteristics about the
10
child (his ability) and his home environment (his siblings' ability) that might influence the
parent's decision. We employ two empirical approaches to estimate this relationship. First, we
estimate the following household or sibling fixed effects logit regression that will control for all
household level characteristics that are constant across siblings:
(2) eih 0 Aih 0 X ih h ih
where eih and Xih are defined as above, Aih is a direct measure of observed child ability, h is the
household fixed effect that captures all characteristics about the household that are constant
across siblings, and ih is the child specific idiosyncratic error term. In Equation 1 and the
previous sibling rivalry papers, child ability was part of the error term, ih, but in our estimation
we are able to directly control for its effect on educational outcomes.11 This within family
estimate compares a child's own ability to the average ability of all the other children in the
household to examine if parents compare a child's ability to the average ability of his siblings
when making human capital investment decisions. We use this as a first estimate of the effect on
education outcomes of a child's own ability relative to his siblings' abilities.
While the household fixed effects estimation compares own ability to average sibling
ability, the second approach we adopt is to be more specific about the functional form of the
sibling ability term and to include direct measures of sibling ability in the regression. This
approach has the additional advantage that we can include the same variables as in the sibling
rivalry literature (in Equation 1) and allows us to examine how the relevant coefficients vary
when controlling for a child's own ability and his sibling's ability. We estimate the following
extended Equation 1 sibling rivalry regression:
11
Note that in the household fixed effects specification, household characteristics, Zh, and number of siblings, Sih,
will drop out of the specification because there is no variation across children within the household. In the household
fixed effects regressions, we also drop the number of sisters variable, Fih, because it is constant within a given
household for children of the same gender.
11
(3) eih 0 Aih 1 h( Aih ) 0 S ih 1 Fih 0 X ih 1 Z h ih
where h(A-ih) is a measure of the ability of the other children (-i) in household h with varying
functional forms that we discuss in detail below, and the other variables are as defined above.
The error term, ih, measures the child specific idiosyncratic part of ih not captured by a child's
own ability, Aih, or his sibling's ability, h(A-ih). The coefficients 0 and 1 respectively give an
estimate of the impact of child i's own ability and his sibling's ability on child i's enrollment.
We use several alternative measures of sibling ability, h(A-ih), including both absolute
measures (highest sibling ability) and relative measures (whether there are any siblings with a
higher ability score and dummies for the number of siblings with higher ability scores). Absolute
measures provide insight into the role of the level of sibling ability in a household. Having
siblings with high ability might raise overall enrollment levels in a family, or it might represent
competition for the child. It could be that the average level of sibling ability affects a child's
enrollment differently than the ability level of the household's `best' sibling (with the highest
ability). If sibling rivalry influences parents deciding who to send to school, then parents might
consider how a child compares in ability terms to his siblings rather than considering the child's
ability on its own, and relative sibling ability measures might be more informative. In our
sample, 40 percent of the overall variation in ability arises from within family variation across
siblings, while 60 percent is between families.
4.2 Potential Threats to Identification Strategy
Since schooling potentially affects cognitive ability, reverse causality is the primary problem we
face. We attempt to address this in two ways. First, we estimate robustness specifications in
which we limit the sample of children to Grades 2 and lower or to Grade 1 and lower. The
decision to use this grade cutoff point is based on a regression of the Raven's age adjusted z-
12
score on grade in school, and the coefficients for Grades 1 and 2 are close to zero (0.05 and 0.09
respectively) and not statistically significant. The coefficients for Grade 3 and 4 are slightly
larger (0.14 and 0.12 respectively), but only the Grade 3 coefficient is statistically significant,
while the Grade 4 coefficient is not statistically significant. We interpret this lack of relationship
between the lower grades and ability test scores as evidence that children in Grade 2 and lower
have not yet received enough schooling to influence their cognitive ability test scores. Based on
this information and to be conservative in our robustness specifications, we select Grades 1 and 2
as the cutoff levels. Second, we restrict the sample to young children ages 5 to 7 (and 5 to 6) who
are not enrolled in year 1 but for whom we have ability measures in year 1 and look at their
enrollment in year 2. This eliminates any potential effect of schooling on the ability measures as
these children were not enrolled at the time of taking the ability test.
5. Empirical Results
5.1 Sibling Rivalry, Parent Perceptions, and Child Ability
Since we are building upon the sibling rivalry literature, we begin our analysis estimating
Equation 1 that uses the standard observable family composition characteristics, number of
siblings, number of sisters, and birth order. Results of this regression are presented in Table 2,
column 1. We find evidence of resource dilution and sibling rivalry consistent with the literature.
We find that the number of siblings has a negative effect on enrollment (resource dilution) while
the number of sisters has a positive effect (sibling rivalry). Holding constant the number of
sisters, the addition of a male sibling is correlated with 2.5 percentage points (or 4.6 percent)
lower likelihood of attending school. An additional female sibling has no impact on whether the
child attends school. Subsequently, switching from a male to female sibling corresponds to a 2.2
percentage point higher likelihood of enrollment, or 4.1 percent of the base enrollment level.
13
Birth order has a positive but not statistically significant coefficient indicating younger siblings
are more likely to be enrolled, as is consistent with the literature in developing countries.
As discussed in Section 4.1, other factors about the child besides these observable
demographic characteristics are likely to influence the parent's schooling investment decision.
Parents know more about their children's characteristics than simply their gender and sibling
composition. Since it is the parents' perceptions of their child's ability or potential for future
success, whether correct or not, that informs and affects their decision about educational
investment, we first examine the relationship between school enrollment and these parents'
perceptions about each of their children.12 We estimate both a household fixed effects logit as in
Equation 2 and an extended sibling rivalry logit regression as in Equation 3. In Table 2 columns
2 to 5, we present the corresponding results. We find a positive relationship between what
parents think about a child and his current enrollment. On the other hand, perceptions of the
child's siblings in the same age group have a negative relationship with the child's enrollment,
suggesting parents make educational investment decisions based not only on what they think of
one child but also what they think of that child's siblings.
The household fixed effects specification presented in Table 2 column 2 shows that
children with one level higher parental perceptions compared to the average perceptions of their
siblings have an 18.4 percentage point higher probability of enrollment, which corresponds to a
34.1 percent higher enrollment level. In columns 3 to 5, we explicitly estimate the relationship
between parent perceptions about the child's siblings and a child's enrollment. Controlling for
direct measures of parent perceptions of siblings, the parental perceptions of the child are still
positively correlated with the child's enrollment and statistically significant at the one percent
12
The parent perception variable takes values of 0 to 3, where 0 means a child has a small chance of future success,
1 a medium chance, 2 a large chance, and 3 a very large chance. Parents on average report that their children have a
medium chance of success, with the variable mean being 1.2 and standard deviation 0.9.
14
level. One level higher parent perceptions is correlated with a 10.9 to 16.2 percentage point
higher likelihood of being enrolled. However, parental perceptions of a child's siblings are
negatively correlated with the child's enrollment status. Compared to the household fixed effects
specification in which the parental perceptions of the child are compared to the average of his
siblings, an alternative is to make the comparison with the parental perceptions of the `best'
sibling. Results in column 3 show that children whose sibling with the highest perception in the
family has a one level higher value have a 6.5 percentage point lower likelihood of enrollment.
Relative sibling perceptions might be more relevant than absolute sibling perceptions
since it is possible that having a sibling whom the parents think of more highly than oneself
matters more than the overall perception level of one's siblings. Column 4 uses an indicator of
whether the child has any sibling with parental perception higher than himself while column 5
uses indicators for whether the child has one, two, or three siblings with higher parental
perceptions. Children having any sibling with better parent perceptions have a 7.0 percentage
point lower probability of enrollment. Children with three or more siblings with higher parental
perceptions have a 14.6 percentage point lower probability of being enrolled, corresponding to a
27 percent lower enrollment, and the coefficient is significant at the five percent level.
While the relationship between parental perceptions of a child and his schooling is strong,
it does not eliminate the role of sibling composition. Having more brothers is correlated with
lower enrollment, while having more sisters instead of brothers and holding the number of
siblings constant is correlated with higher enrollment. Birth order is also important; younger
siblings have a 2.5 percentage point higher probability of being enrolled (columns 3 to 5).
Consistent with inter-generational education transmission and wealth effects, better educated
parents and wealthier households have children who are more likely to be enrolled.
15
While parental perceptions about their child's chance of future success are correlated
with the child's current school enrollment, these perceptions may or may not be accurate or well-
informed. There may also be significant differences across households in how parents perceive
their own children and what factors they take into account in formulating perceptions. To further
explore these issues, we incorporate an externally validated measure of the child's cognitive
ability using the Raven's CPM test. These tests were administered during the baseline survey to
every child age 5 to 15 regardless of their current enrollment status and provide a consistent
measure of child ability across children in all households. There is a strong positive relationship
between the ability measure and parent perceptions. Higher ability children are viewed by their
parents to have a higher chance of future success. However, after controlling for gender and age,
the ability measure only explains about 20 percent of the variation in parental perceptions.
In Table 3, we estimate the relationship between child ability (as measured by the
Raven's age adjusted z-score) and current school enrollment using a household fixed effects logit
as described in Equation 2 and a logit regression with alternative sibling ability measures as
described in Equation 3.13 The household fixed effects logit results in column 1 indicate that a
child with one standard deviation higher own ability compared to the average of his siblings has
a 16.5 percentage point higher likelihood of being currently enrolled, corresponding to 30.6
percent of the base enrollment. The coefficient is significant at the one percent level. This is
evidence parents take into account a child's cognitive ability in deciding enrollment, and the
magnitude of the effect is large.
13
All regressions include child gender and age dummies, and the regressions estimating Equation 3 also include
village fixed effects, parent schooling, household assets, and family demographic composition measures. Results
presented in Table 3 are consistent when using the number of siblings and the number of sisters age 5 to 15 rather
than the number of siblings and sisters age 0 to 15. Correlation among the error terms of children in a given village
experiencing the same enrollment environment might bias the standard errors downward, so in all regressions we
cluster the standard errors by village.
16
When considering how parents make this enrollment decision, one approach would be for
them to compare a child's ability with the average ability of his siblings, and this is captured in
the household fixed effects specification. An alternative that takes into account the non-linear
relationship between siblings' ability would consider the impact of the sibling with the highest
ability. Another approach would include relative measures indicating if the child has any sibling
with a higher ability measure or whether the child has one, two, or three or more siblings with
higher ability measures.14 Controlling for these direct measures of sibling ability (in columns 2 to
4), the child's own ability is still positively correlated with the child's enrollment and statistically
significant at the one percent level. One standard deviation higher own ability is correlated with
15.7 to 27.2 percent higher likelihood of enrollment compared to the base enrollment level.
Having one's `best' sibling have a one standard deviation higher ability is correlated with a 6.8
percentage point lower enrollment rate (column 2), and the coefficient is significant at the one
percent level. Likewise, having any sibling with a higher ability is correlated with 11 percentage
points lower likelihood of being enrolled (column 3), and this effect is magnified if there are two
siblings with higher abilities (16.1 percentage points). Both coefficients are significant at the one
percent level.
Including child ability and sibling ability measures does not significantly alter the family
demographic composition variables. The sign and level of statistical significance are consistent
with the initial regression presented in Table 2 column 1, while the magnitude of the coefficient
for the number of siblings and number of sisters is somewhat reduced. It is worth noting that the
relationship between a child's own ability and current school enrollment is four to eight times
larger than the corresponding relationship between the standard demographic composition
14
Results are robust to additional sibling ability measures including median sibling ability, the number of siblings
with a higher ability, dummies for whether a child's ability is highest or lowest in the household, and whether the
child has any siblings who have ability measures one-half or one standard deviation higher.
17
variables and enrollment. These sibling ability rivalry results are consistent with the parental
perceptions regressions in Table 2 and indicate that part of what is driving the relationship
between parental perceptions and the school enrollment decision is the child's ability.15
Having explored the relationship between child ability and the extensive margin of school
enrollment, we next turn to the intensive margin of educational expenditures. We focus on
expenses for school supplies and parent association voluntary fees because these have a
discretionary component, whereby parents have some leeway in how much they spend on each
of their children.16 For the regressions presented in Table 4, we restrict the sample of 4,635
children age 5 to 15 living in households with multiple siblings to only the 2,511 children who
are currently enrolled in school. We estimate a similar series of regressions as in Table 3
(household fixed effects in column 1 and then including alternative sibling ability measures in
columns 2 to 4). Results in column 1 indicate that within a given household, children with a one
standard deviation higher ability receive 170 FCFA more in discretionary expenditures,
representing 20.1 percent of mean discretionary expenses, and the coefficient is significant at the
one percent level. Controlling directly for alternative functional forms of sibling ability in
columns 2 to 4 does not alter the positive relationship between a child's own ability and
educational expenses, with coefficients ranging from 112 to 139 FCFA. Finally, children with
two siblings of higher ability have 136 FCFA lower educational expenditures, corresponding to
16.1 percent of discretionary educational expenses.
15
We also estimate the regressions separately by child gender and find no strong gender difference. Sibling rivalry
appears to be more important for girls than boys, but we cannot reject the equality of coefficients between the
genders. Similarly we cannot reject that the role of own ability or parent perceptions are the same for both genders.
We also estimate the regressions broken down by poverty level, defining poor households to have log assets below
the mean, below the median, or in the bottom quintile, and while the estimates for poor families are larger, we
cannot reject that poor and rich families have the same level of sibling rivalry.
16
School registration fees are not considered since all enrolled children have to pay the same fees. School meal fees,
lodging fees, uniforms, and transportation expenses are the other educational expenses that are not included as these
have much less variation across siblings within a household.
18
5.2 Robustness Checks
To test the robustness of our results, we present four tables of regressions where we explore
different educational outcomes, use two approaches to address potential reverse causality issues
between schooling and cognitive ability, and use alternative cognitive tests to measure child
ability. First, in Table 5, we present results for alternative schooling outcomes including ever
enrolled in school, on-time school start, and grade progression through school. Results are
consistent with those in Table 3 for current enrollment. We use household fixed effects as well as
the relative measure of whether a child has one, two or three siblings of higher ability.17 Relative
to the base levels, in the household fixed effects specifications (columns 1, 3, and 5), children
with one standard deviation higher own ability are 29.5 percent more likely to be ever enrolled,
39 percent more likely to start school on time, and 28.1 percent more likely to progress through
school. Children with one sibling of higher ability have lower probability of these outcomes (12
percent lower level of ever being enrolled, 11 percent lower level of starting school on time, and
8 percent lower level of grade progression). Negative effects are larger for children who have
two siblings of higher ability (27 percent lower level of ever being enrolled, 24 percent lower
level of starting school on time, and 20 percent lower level of grade progression).
Second, in Table 6, we attempt to address the potential reverse causality of schooling
affecting a child's cognitive ability by limiting the regression sample to children that are in
Grade 2, Grade 1, or not enrolled (columns 1 to 4) and children in Grade 1 or not enrolled
(columns 5 to 8) because the regression evidence discussed previously indicates that children in
these grades have not yet received enough schooling to influence their cognitive ability test
scores. Results for this restricted sample are consistent with those in Table 3. Household fixed
17
We also estimate regressions including the highest sibling ability and whether the child has any sibling of higher
ability and find consistent results, but due to space limitations we present the limited set of results.
19
effects logit regressions in columns 1 and 5 indicate that within a given household, relative to the
base enrollment levels, a child with one standard deviation higher ability is respectively 33 and
36 percent more likely to be enrolled.18 Children with two siblings of higher ability have a 6.2 or
3.9 percentage point lower probability of enrollment (columns 4 and 8 respectively),
corresponding to 17.7 and 17.0 percent of the base level of enrollment.
Third, in Table 7, we further address any potential reverse causality between schooling
and cognitive ability by using the ability measure of young children who are not enrolled in
2007-2008 to measure the effect on schooling in 2008-2009. This approach eliminates any
potential effect of schooling on the ability measure as these children had never been enrolled at
the time of taking the ability test. In the first four columns, we first consider only children ages 5
to 7 and not enrolled in year 1 since many children in Burkina Faso are not enrolled at this young
age. Then in columns 5 to 8, we further restrict the sample to only children ages 5 to 6 and not
enrolled in year 1 to remove any potential concern that the not-enrolled seven year olds are
somehow different than other seven year old children.19 The household fixed effects logit
regressions in columns 1 and 5 indicate that within a given household, a young child with a one
standard deviation higher ability measured in year 1 is respectively 19.2 and 20.4 percentage
points more likely to be subsequently enrolled in year 2. The coefficient in column 1 is
statistically significant at the five percent level. While the coefficient in column 5 is not
statistically significant at standard levels, there are only 52 children in the regression as the
household fixed effects logit is only identified from households with multiple children ages 5 to
6 who were not enrolled in year 1. Young children 5 to 6 years old who are not enrolled in year 1
18
Mean enrollment for the sample of children in Grades 2, 1 or not enrolled (columns 1 to 4) is 0.35, while for
children in Grade 1 or not enrolled (columns 5 to 8), average enrollment is 0.23.
19
In 2007-2008, 74 percent of children ages 5 to 7 were not enrolled, and of these children 31 percent are then
enrolled in 2008-2009. For children 5 to 6 years old, 89 percent of them were not enrolled in 2007-2008, and of
these children, 28 percent are then enrolled in the subsequent year.
20
and who have two siblings of higher ability who also are not enrolled in year 1 subsequently
have a 17.3 percentage point lower probability of enrollment in year 2 (column 8).
Fourth, in Table 8, we present two alternative measures of a child's cognitive ability. To
allay any concerns that transforming the Raven's scores into age-adjusted z-scores might have
introduced bias, in columns 1 to 4, we estimate regressions using the Raven's raw test score.
Results are consistent with those in Table 3. In the household fixed effects specification, within a
given household, a child with a one standard deviation higher Raven's raw score (3.35
questions), has an 18.4 percentage point higher likelihood of being enrolled. In columns 5 to 8,
we also employ an alternative measure of cognitive ability, the WISC Digit Span, to examine the
relationship with current enrollment and find results consistent with using the Raven's test.
Children with a one standard deviation higher own WISC z-score have a 17 to 22 percentage
point higher probability of enrollment, representing 32 to 41 percent of the mean enrollment
level. Children with two siblings having a higher WISC z-score have a 14 percentage point lower
probability of enrollment (26 percent of the mean level of enrollment).
6. Conclusions
In this paper, we find strong evidence of sibling rivalry, consistent with the prior literature, when
parents make educational investment decisions in rural Burkina Faso. In contrast with previous
research that generally focuses on easily observable demographic characteristics to measure
sibling rivalry, we use measures of a child's own cognitive ability and different specifications of
his siblings' abilities to test for how parents make educational investment decisions. We examine
both the extensive margin (school enrollment and grade progression) as well as the intensive
margin of discretionary school expenditures. Own ability has a positive effect on educational
outcomes, after controlling for individual and family characteristics and when using a family
21
fixed effect specification. We find that within a given household a child with one standard
deviation higher ability compared to the average ability of their siblings is 31 percent more likely
to be enrolled. Regardless of how we measure sibling ability, we find evidence of sibling rivalry,
and our results are particularly strong when we consider relative measures of sibling ability. The
magnitude of these impacts is large. For a child that has one higher ability sibling the probability
of enrollment declines by 16 percent and having two higher ability siblings lowers enrollment by
30 percent. Our findings are robust to using alternative objective measures of cognitive ability
and the parent's perceptions of a child's chance of future success and to addressing issues about
the potential reverse causality of schooling influencing child ability measures.
A more complete understanding of how parents make the educational investment
decision is useful for policymakers. Our findings that high ability children within a family are
more likely to be enrolled and receive more educational resources suggest that parents focus on
getting the most talented children through higher levels of education, rather than spreading some
education evenly amongst all of their children. This raises doubts about the effectiveness of
supply-side schooling interventions (such as building schools, reducing class size, or school
inputs like textbooks or uniforms) to raise the schooling of all children and achieve the
Millennium Development Goals. These types of policies might raise the schooling of the more
talented children rather than the schooling of all children, and so to increase overall education
rates, demand side policies might be necessary. The results also point towards additional benefits
of early childhood development programs that improve the cognitive ability of children and help
them better compete with their siblings.
22
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24
Table 1: Summary Statistics of Burkina Faso Social Protection Evaluation (BSPE) Data
Variable: Mean Standard Percentage of
Deviation Households with
Variation
Household Size 8.88 3.81
Number of Wives 1.47 0.95
Number of Siblings 3.81 2.32
Number of Sisters 1.79 1.50
Number of Non-Biological Children in
Household 0.41 0.89
Male (Fraction Male) 0.54 0.50
Age 9.41 2.99
Birth Order 2.27 1.34
Proportion Either Parent Ever Enrolled 0.13 0.34
Log Household Assets 12.36 1.49
Parent Perception of Chance Child Succeeds in Formal Employment
Percentage `Small' Chance 25
Percentage `Medium' Chance 38
Percentage `Large' Chance 29
Percentage `Very Large' Chance 8
Raven's Raw Test Score 4.86 3.35
Own Ability (Raven's age adjusted z-score) -0.01 1.00
Average Grades Completed 1.81 2.08
Proportion Children Currently Enrolled 0.54 0.50 56%
Proportion Children Ever Enrolled 0.59 0.49 54%
Proportion Children with an On-Time Start 0.40 0.49 54%
Grade Progression 0.52 0.48
Discretionary Education Expenditures (in
FCFA) 845 1752
Number of Households 1507
Number of Children 4635
Notes: All summary statistics are based on information for the 4635 children age 5 to 15 in Year 1
unless otherwise noted. Household assets are measured in FCFA (415 FCFA=$1) and the variable is
created by taking the log of the sum of household durable goods and livestock. Parent perceptions of
the chance their child succeeds in formal employment ranges from 0 to 3, with 0 indicating a small
chance and 3 indicating a very large chance, own ability is measured using the Raven's Colored
Progressive Matrices and normed by age (z-score), timely start indicates if the child started school
by age 7 or younger, grade progression in school is the child's grade in school divided by number of
years since the child started attending school and ranges from 0 to 1, discretionary education
expenditures is the sum of per child expenses for school supplies and parent association fees in
FCFA. Summary statistics for grade progression and average grades completed are based on only
4476 and 4633 children respectively due to missing grade data. Data source: Burkina Faso Social
Protection Evaluation (BSPE) data from 2008.
25
Table 2: Marginal Effects from Logit and Conditional Logit Regressions Estimating Relationship
between Current School Enrollment, Sibling Rivalry, and Parent Perceptions
Dependent Variable: Current Enrollment (1) (2) (3) (4) (5)
Parent Perceptions of Child's Chance of 0.184*** 0.162*** 0.111*** 0.109***
Success in Formal Employment [0.025] [0.023] [0.019] [0.019]
Highest Sibling Perception -0.065***
[0.019]
Higher Sibling Dummy (1 if any sibling -0.070**
with a higher perceived chance of [0.033]
success)
One Higher Sibling Dummy (1 if only 1 -0.053
sibling with a higher perceived chance [0.036]
of success)
Two Higher Sibling Dummy (1 if 2 -0.075
siblings with a higher perceived chance [0.048]
of success)
Three or More Higher Sibling Dummy (1 -0.146**
if 3 or more siblings with a higher [0.063]
perceived chance of success)
Number of Siblings -0.025*** -0.025*** -0.026*** -0.025***
[0.009] [0.009] [0.009] [0.009]
Number of Sisters 0.022** 0.021** 0.022** 0.022**
[0.010] [0.010] [0.010] [0.010]
Birth Order 0.014 0.025** 0.023** 0.025**
[0.009] [0.010] [0.010] [0.010]
Male 0.031* 0.040** 0.026 0.027 0.027
[0.018] [0.019] [0.019] [0.019] [0.019]
Parent Schooling (Either parent ever 0.181*** 0.171*** 0.166*** 0.166***
enrolled=1) [0.040] [0.045] [0.044] [0.044]
Log Household Assets 0.018* 0.018* 0.017* 0.017*
[0.010] [0.010] [0.010] [0.010]
Age Fixed Effects? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Village Fixed Effects? Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Household Fixed Effects? No Yes No No No
Number of Children 4635 3210 4536 4536 4536
Notes: Robust standard errors in brackets, clustered at village level. * significant at 10%; ** significant at
5%; *** significant at 1%. Columns 1, 3, 4, and 5 present marginal effects for logit regressions. Column 2
presents marginal effects from a household fixed effects conditional logit regression. Regressions are
restricted to children age 5 to 15, and number of siblings and number of sisters are for all siblings and
sisters in the household. Regression sample includes 4635 children, of which 4536 have parent perception
measures and 3210 have siblings with differing outcomes. Household assets are measured in FCFA (415
CFA=$1). Data source: Burkina Faso Social Protection Evaluation (BSPE) data from 2008.
26
Table 3: Marginal Effects from Logit and Conditional Logit Regressions Estimating Relationship
between Current School Enrollment and Child Ability
Dependent Variable: Current Enrollment (1) (2) (3) (4)
Own Ability (Raven's age adjusted z-score) 0.165*** 0.147*** 0.095*** 0.085***
[0.017] [0.014] [0.016] [0.016]
Highest Sibling Ability -0.068***
[0.013]
Higher Sibling Dummy (1 if any sibling with an -0.110***
ability > own ability) [0.024]
One Higher Sibling Dummy (1 if only 1 sibling -0.086***
with an ability > own ability) [0.025]
Two Higher Sibling Dummy (1 if 2 siblings with -0.161***
an ability > ability) [0.032]
Three or More Higher Sibling Dummy (1 if 3 or -0.177***
more siblings with an ability > own ) [0.041]
Number of Siblings -0.019** -0.023*** -0.018**
[0.009] [0.009] [0.009]
Number of Sisters 0.018* 0.020** 0.019**
[0.010] [0.010] [0.010]
Birth Order 0.028*** 0.025*** 0.029***
[0.009] [0.009] [0.010]
Male 0.026 0.019 0.019 0.018
[0.020] [0.020] [0.020] [0.020]
Parent Schooling (Either parent ever enrolled=1) 0.182*** 0.181*** 0.180***
[0.041] [0.041] [0.041]
Log Household Assets 0.018* 0.019** 0.020**
[0.010] [0.010] [0.010]
Age Fixed Effects? Yes Yes Yes Yes
Village Fixed Effects? No Yes Yes Yes
Household Fixed Effects? Yes No No No
Number of Children 2861 4635 4635 4635
Notes: Robust standard errors in brackets, clustered at village level. * significant at 10%; ** significant
at 5%; *** significant at 1%. Column 1 presents marginal effects from a household fixed effects
conditional logit regression. Columns 2 to 4 present marginal effects for logit regressions. Regressions
are restricted to children age 5 to 15, and number of siblings and number of sisters are for all siblings
and sisters in the household. Regression sample includes 4635 children, with 2861 having siblings with
differing enrollment outcomes. Own and sibling ability are measured using the Raven's Colored
Progressive Matrices and normed by age (z-score). Household assets are measured in FCFA (415 CFA:
$1). Data source: Burkina Faso Social Protection Evaluation (BSPE) data from 2008.
27
Table 4: OLS Regressions Estimating Relationship between Discretionary Education
Expenditures and Child Ability, Only Enrolled Children
Dependent Variable: Discretionary education (1) (2) (3) (4)
expenditures on supplies and parent associations
fees (FCFA)
Own Ability (Raven's age adjusted z-score) 169.53*** 139.23** 123.26* 112.35
[54.60] [55.71] [70.35] [75.67]
Highest Sibling Ability -36.25
[40.94]
Higher Sibling Dummy (1 if any sibling in household -10.74
with an ability > own ability) [65.65]
One Higher Sibling Ability Dummy (1 if only 1 sibling 26.72
in household with an ability > own ability) [70.90]
Two Higher Sibling Ability Dummy (1 if 2 siblings in -136.03*
household with an ability > ability) [76.93]
Three or More Higher Sibling Ability Dummy (1 if 3 or -46.74
more siblings in household with an ability > own) [140.12]
Number of Siblings 27.23 24.06 27.63
[34.28] [33.40] [35.33]
Number of Sisters -69.66* -68.48* -69.65*
[40.02] [39.92] [40.18]
Birth Order -19.96 -24.38 -16.57
[38.86] [39.80] [37.71]
Male -82.35 -62.57 -61.95 -61.85
[84.72] [67.57] [68.16] [67.92]
Parent Schooling (Either parent ever enrolled=1) 257.47** 256.14** 255.01**
[116.486] [116.79] [116.99]
Log Household Assets 12.42 11.95 12.54
[25.83] [25.58] [25.93]
Age Fixed Effects? Yes Yes Yes Yes
Village Fixed Effects? No Yes Yes Yes
Household Fixed Effects? Yes No No No
Number of Children 1994 2511 2511 2511
Notes: Robust standard errors in brackets, clustered at village level. * significant at 10%; ** significant at
5%; *** significant at 1%. All regressions are restricted to children ages 5 to 15 who are currently
enrolled in school. Discretionary education expenditures are the sum of per child expenses for school
supplies and other parent association fees in FCFA, with a mean of 845 FCFA. The regression in column
1 includes household fixed effects and the sample is restricted to children in households with at least 2
enrolled children. Columns 2 to 4 include village fixed effects and the sample is restricted to children who
are currently enrolled. Own and sibling ability are measured using the Raven's Colored Progressive
Matrices and normed by age (z-score). Household assets are measured in FCFA (415 CFA=$1). Data
source: Burkina Faso Social Protection Evaluation (BSPE) data from 2008.
28
Table 5: Marginal Effects from Logit and Conditional Logit Regressions Estimating Relationship between Alternative Schooling
Outcomes and Child Ability
Dependent Variable: Ever Ever On Time On Time Grade Grade
Enrolled Enrolled Start Start Progress Progress
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)
Own Ability (Raven's age adjusted z-score) 0.174*** 0.079*** 0.156*** 0.071*** 0.146*** 0.052***
[0.017] [0.014] [0.018] [0.014] [0.015] [0.010]
One Higher Sibling Dummy (1 if only 1 sibling with -0.073*** -0.044** -0.043***
an ability > own ability) [0.023] [0.020] [0.016]
Two Higher Sibling Dummy (1 if 2 siblings with an -0.162*** -0.094*** -0.106***
ability > own ability) [0.028] [0.027] [0.019]
Three or More Higher Sibling Dummy (1 if 3 or more -0.167*** -0.130*** -0.120***
siblings with an ability > own ability) [0.041] [0.034] [0.029]
Number of Siblings -0.016* -0.008 -0.012**
[0.009] [0.008] [0.006]
Number of Sisters 0.016 0.016 0.017***
[0.011] [0.010] [0.006]
Birth Order 0.024** -0.007 0.016**
[0.010] [0.010] [0.007]
Male 0.040* 0.033* 0.010 0.001 0.048** 0.028*
[0.022] [0.019] [0.023] [0.017] [0.021] [0.014]
Parent Schooling (Either parent ever enrolled=1) 0.203*** 0.160*** 0.120***
[0.047] [0.039] [0.027]
Log Household Assets 0.023** 0.027*** 0.014**
[0.010] [0.008] [0.006]
Age Fixed Effects? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Village Fixed Effects? No Yes No Yes No Yes
Household Fixed Effects? Yes No Yes No Yes No
Number of Children 2751 4635 2716 4635 2584 4476
Notes: Robust standard errors in brackets, clustered at village level. * significant at 10%; ** significant at 5%; *** significant at 1%. Columns 1
and 3 present marginal effects for a household fixed effects conditional logit regression. Columns 2 and 4 present marginal effects for logit
regressions. Column 5 uses OLS and includes household fixed effects, while column 6 includes village fixed effects. Regressions are restricted to
children age 5 to 15. On-time start indicates if the child started school by age 7 or younger, grade progression is the child's grade in school divided
by number of years since the child started school and ranges from 0 to 1. Own and sibling ability are measured using the Raven's CPM and
normed by age. Regression sample includes 4635 children who also have siblings in their household. Due to missing grade information, sample
size in column 6 is 4476. Data source: Burkina Faso Social Protection Evaluation (BSPE) data from 2008.
Table 6: Marginal Effects from Logit and Conditional Logit Regressions Estimating Relationship between Current School Enrollment
and Child Ability, Restricted to Children in Grades 2 or Lower
Dependant Variable: Current Enrollment Grade 2, 1 or Not Enrolled Grade 1 or Not Enrolled
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8)
Own Ability (Raven's age adjusted z-score) 0.114*** 0.065*** 0.048*** 0.044*** 0.083** 0.026*** 0.021* 0.018
[0.026] [0.012] [0.014] [0.015] [0.040] [0.010] [0.011] [0.012]
Highest Sibling Ability -0.025** -0.007
[0.010] [0.009]
Higher Sibling Dummy (1 if any sibling with an -0.035 -0.010
ability > own ability) [0.021] [0.016]
One Higher Sibling Dummy (1 if only 1 sibling -0.024 -0.000
with an ability > own ability) [0.023] [0.017]
Two Higher Sibling Dummy (1 if 2 siblings with -0.062** -0.039**
an ability > own ability) [0.026] [0.020]
Three or More Higher Sibling Dummy (1 if 3 or -0.053 -0.012
more siblings with an ability > own ability) [0.044] [0.034]
Number of Siblings -0.021** -0.023*** -0.021** -0.017*** -0.018*** -0.017***
[0.008] [0.008] [0.009] [0.006] [0.006] [0.006]
Number of Sisters 0.001 0.002 0.002 0.005 0.005 0.005
[0.009] [0.009] [0.009] [0.006] [0.006] [0.006]
Birth Order 0.027*** 0.026** 0.028*** 0.020** 0.019** 0.020***
[0.011] [0.011] [0.011] [0.008] [0.008] [0.008]
Male 0.036** 0.008 0.009 0.008 0.044 -0.001 -0.001 -0.000
[0.041] [0.019] [0.019] [0.019] [0.048] [0.014] [0.014] [0.014]
Household Characteristics? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Age Fixed Effects? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Village Fixed Effects? No Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Household Fixed Effects? Yes No No No Yes No No No
Number of Children 1409 3118 3118 3118 730 2548 2548 2548
Notes: Robust standard errors in brackets, clustered at village level. * significant at 10%; ** significant at 5%; *** significant at 1%. Sample in
columns 1 to 4 includes 3118 children in Grades 2 or lower, with 1409 having siblings with differing enrollment outcomes. Sample in columns 5 to
8 includes 2548 children in Grade 1 or lower, with 730 having siblings with differing enrollment outcomes. Columns 1 and 5 present marginal
effects from a household fixed effects conditional logit regression. Columns 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 present marginal effects for logit regressions.
Regressions are restricted to children age 5 to 15, and number of siblings and number of sisters are for all siblings and sisters in the household. Own
and sibling ability are measured using the Raven's Colored Progressive Matrices and normed by age (z-score). Household assets are measured in
FCFA (415 CFA: $1). Data source: Burkina Faso Social Protection Evaluation (BSPE) data from 2008.
Table 7: Marginal Effects from Logit and Conditional Logit Regressions Estimating Relationship between School Enrollment in Year
2 and Child Ability Measured in Year 1
Dependent Variable: Current Enrollment Year 2 (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8)
Own Ability (Raven's age adjusted z-score) 0.192** 0.060** 0.037 0.031 0.204 0.050 0.009 0.005
[0.092] [0.028] [0.028] [0.028] [0.156] [0.034] [0.033] [0.032]
Highest Sibling Ability -0.038* -0.069**
[0.021] [0.029]
Higher Sibling Dummy (1 if any sibling with an -0.043 -0.080
ability > own ability) [0.040] [0.050]
One Higher Sibling Dummy (1 if only 1 sibling -0.020 -0.049
with an ability > own ability) [0.043] [0.048]
Two Higher Sibling Dummy (1 if 2 siblings with -0.122 -0.173*
an ability > own ability) [0.076] [0.101]
Three or More Higher Sibling Dummy (1 if 3 or -0.135 -0.152
more siblings with an ability > own ability) [0.094] [0.095]
Number of Siblings -0.034 -0.038* -0.033 -0.029 -0.033 -0.030
[0.021] [0.021] [0.021] [0.022] [0.023] [0.023]
Number of Sisters 0.010 0.013 0.012 0.002 0.005 0.002
[0.024] [0.024] [0.025] [0.030] [0.031] [0.031]
Birth Order 0.060** 0.060** 0.062** 0.076*** 0.075*** 0.079***
[0.026] [0.027] [0.027] [0.026] [0.027] [0.027]
Male -0.183 -0.078* -0.079* -0.082* -0.16 -0.082 -0.084 -0.088*
[0.129] [0.044] [0.044] [0.043] [0.197] [0.056] [0.056] [0.053]
Household Characteristics? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Age Fixed Effects? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Village Fixed Effects? No Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Household Fixed Effects? Yes No No No Yes No No No
Number of Children 123 643 643 643 52 442 442 442
Notes: Robust standard errors in brackets, clustered at village level. * significant at 10%; ** significant at 5%; *** significant at 1%. Columns 1 and 5
present marginal effects from a household fixed effects conditional logit regression. Columns 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 present marginal effects for logit
regressions. Regressions in columns 1 to 4 are restricted to children age 5 to 7 who were not enrolled during Year 1 and in columns 5 to 8 are restricted
to children age 5 to 6 who were not enrolled during Year 1. Sample includes 643 children ages 5 to 7, with 123 having siblings with differing
enrollment outcomes. Sample includes 442 children ages 5 to 6, with 52 having siblings with differing enrollment outcomes. Sibling ability measures
are for all siblings not enrolled during Year 1. Own and sibling ability are measured using the Raven's CPM and normed by age (z-score). Household
assets are measured in FCFA (415 CFA: $1). Data source: Burkina Faso Social Protection Evaluation (BSPE) data from 2008 and 2009.
Table 8: Marginal Effects from Logit and Conditional Logit Regressions Estimating Relationship between Current School Enrollment
and Alternative Child Ability Measures
Dependant Variables: Current Enrollment Raven's (raw score) WISC Digit Span (z-score by age)
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8)
Own Ability [Raven's raw, WISC age adjusted z- 0.055*** 0.045*** 0.035*** 0.035*** 0.221*** 0.221*** 0.180*** 0.171***
score] [0.006] [0.005] [0.005] [0.005] [0.028] [0.022] [0.024] [0.025]
Highest Sibling Ability [Raven's raw score, -0.010*** -0.043**
WISC age adjusted z-score] [0.004] [0.018]
Higher Sibling Dummy (1 if any sibling has an -0.085*** -0.115***
ability > own ability) [Raven's raw, WISC age [0.022] [0.031]
adjusted z-score]
One Higher Sibling Dummy (1 if only 1 sibling -0.080*** -0.100***
with an ability score > own score) [Raven's raw, [0.024] [0.029]
WISC age adjusted z-score]
Two Higher Sibling Dummy (1 if 2 siblings with -0.104*** -0.138***
an ability score > own score) [Raven's raw, [0.032] [0.043]
WISC age adjusted z-score]
Three or More Higher Sibling Dummy (1 if 3 or -0.095*** -0.191***
more siblings with an ability score > own score) [0.037] [0.052]
[Raven's raw, WISC age adjusted z-score]
Number of Siblings -0.025*** -0.026*** -0.025*** -0.020** -0.020** -0.015*
[0.009] [0.009] [0.009] [0.009] [0.009] [0.009]
Number of Sisters 0.020** 0.020** 0.020** 0.014 0.014 0.014
[0.010] [0.010] [0.010] [0.011] [0.011] [0.010]
Birth Order 0.031*** 0.030*** 0.032*** 0.022** 0.022** 0.027**
[0.010] [0.010] [0.010] [0.011] [0.011] [0.011]
Male 0.025 0.020 0.021 0.021 0.045** 0.018 0.020 0.019
[0.020] [0.020] [0.020] [0.020] [0.021] [0.020] [0.020] [0.020]
Age Fixed Effects? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Village Fixed Effects? No Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Household Fixed Effects? Yes No No No Yes No No No
Number of Children 2861 4635 4635 4635 2843 4463 4463 4463
Notes: Robust standard errors in brackets, clustered at village level. * significant at 10%; ** significant at 5%; *** significant at 1%. Columns 1 and 5 present marginal
effects from a household fixed effects conditional logit regression. Columns 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 present marginal effects for logit regressions. Columns 1 to 4 calculate
ability measures using the Raven's CPM raw score. Columns 5 to 8 calculate ability measures using the WISC Digit Span and normed by age (z-score). Sample sizes
vary due to missing WISC Digit Span data. Regressions are restricted to children age 5 to 15. All regressions also include household level controls for parent schooling
and asset level. Data source: Burkina Faso Social Protection Evaluation (BSPE) data from 2008.
Figure 1: Example Problems from the Raven's Colored Progressive Matrices
and WISC Digit Span Tests
Panel A : Raven's Colored Progressive Matrices
Correct Response: Option 2 Correct Response: Option 3
Panel B: WISC Digit Span
Question Correct Response
Digit Span Forward:
"8-2" "8-2"
"5-1-7-4-2-3-8" "5-1-7-4-2-3-8"
Digit Span Backward:
"8-2" "2-8"
"1-6-5-2-9-8" "8-9-2-5-6-1"