Remedial Education Programs in Mali

Roughly 3 million school-aged children in Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso are not enrolled in school. National survey data from Mali reports that only 47 percent of rural eligible children were enrolled in the first level of schooling in 2006. This underscores the urgent educational policy problem of how to effectively engage out-of-school children.

The Strømme Foundation, a Norwegian development organization, created a Speed School  program to respond to the high percentage of out-of-school children in Mali, Niger, and Burkina  Faso. The educational program was developed by education curriculum experts and aims to  provide out-of-school children ages 8-12 with an accelerated nine-month curriculum, and to ultimately transfer them into the government primary school system.

 To evaluate the impact of the  Speed School program on the students’ educational achievement, home life, and continuation with schooling, researchers carried out a randomized evaluation over the course of the 2012-2014 school years in the Koulikoro and Sikasso regions of southern Mali. Seventy-seven randomly-selected villages participated in the study, with 46 receiving the program and 31 serving as the comparison group. In collaboration with Innovations for Poverty Action, we collected data on children and households in villages participating in the program and in comparison villages for two years, between mid-2012 and mid-2014.  This research is funded by the Hewlett Foundation.  


Child Labor in Mali

This paper investigates the effect of shocks on children's time in school, home production and market production at the extensive and intensive margins. Production shocks increase the probability of withdrawal from school by 11% and participation in farm work by 24%, but have no effects on children's intensive margin. Health shocks to men and women increase children's hours worked in household enterprises and child care, respectively. These results suggest that households adjust child labour in response to unexpected events at the extensive or the intensive margin, depending on task. This task-specific data provide evidence that children are complementary to adult labor in agriculture, but substitutes to adult labor in child care.


Migration and Agricultural Risk (with Valerie Mueller and Sheu Salau)

One of the primary sources of agricultural income risk is production uncertainty caused by weather-related events. A lack of formal institutions to reduce household vulnerability to agricultural income risk in developing countries limits short- and long term economic growth potential.  We investigate the extent that Nigerian households engage in internal migration to ensure against ex ante and ex post agricultural risk due to weather-related variability and shocks. We use data on the migration patterns of individuals over a twenty-year period and temperature degree days to proxy agricultural risk.  We find suggestive evidence of household response to ex ante risk by sending males to migrate. Robust findings show that males migrate in response to ex post risk. As global climate change increases risk, these results suggest that increased migration could result as households mitigate risk and strain limited resources in Nigerian cities.