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Girls in school pave the way for siblings – new study on the effects of schooling in Ethiopia

Annika Lindskog, Economics researcher from the University of Gothenburg, studied data from the Amhara region in rural Ethiopia and found that the schooling of older siblings, especially older sisters, has a positive effect on the schooling of younger siblings.

The level of education and literacy among adults in the poor Amhara region in Ethiopia is generally very low. In the last 15 years, however, great educational efforts have been made, resulting in for example increased schooling of children and adolescents.

As part of her doctoral thesis, titled Essays on Economic Behaviour: HIV/AIDS, Schooling and Inequality, Lindskog explored the effects of education among households in the region and found that the schooling of a child or adolescent has a strong effect on the schooling of his or her siblings in the same household.

‘My results show that a larger share of younger siblings go to school if their older siblings are educated. This effect is particularly strong between sisters, regardless of whether the older sister still lives in the household,’ says Lindskog.
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The results have nothing to do with the fact that some families prioritise education more than others, since the effect was identified only from the variation in literacy of older siblings within the families and over time. Lindskog says that her results show how important education of girls is for the development of poor countries.

‘Educated girls are important for the success of their younger sisters. They serve as role models and can help their families financially. Also, the education of siblings has a positive impact on the view of the value of education within the family where parents and previous generation have never gone to school,’ says Lindskog.

The thesis was successfully defended on 27 April 2011.

A high-resolution photo of Annika Lindskog can be downloaded at:

Helena Aaberg | idw
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