SES vs. Sex: Where Should Education Policy-Makers Invest in Sub-Saharan Africa?

Sarah Giroux, Cornell University
Anila Rehman, Cornell University
Parfait Eloundou-Enyegue, Cornell University
Habidou Ouedraogo, Institut de Formation et de Recherche Demographiques (IFORD)

Recent evidence suggests that concerted efforts to reduce gender inequality in schooling globally have begun to payoff, especially in the case of Sub-Saharan Africa. Given these improvements however, some researchers have questioned whether there should be a continued focus on gender at the expense of other aspects of educational disadvantage, such as that associated with family resources, or socioeconomic status (SES). The question is one that will depend at least partially on the magnitude of disadvantage that stems from both sex and SES. Moreover, given the limited resources of most Sub-Saharan governments, such a decision will be guided by the payoff associated with funneling resources to particular groups. This paper uses Demographic and Health Survey data from eight Sub-Saharan countries to estimate the contribution of SES and sex to overall educational inequality countries. We then evaluate the impact of various policies that would raise enrollments of specific groups and the relative cost of these options.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Session 132: Education Policy and Child Outcomes