Sarah Brauner-Otto (Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina)
10/06/2008, at noon in room 6050 ISR-Thompson.
School Quality, Attitudes about the Family, and Contraceptive Use in Nepal
This paper investigates the complex relationship between school quality, individuals’ attitudes, and childbearing behavior (specifically, contraceptive use). Using data from rural Nepal, I create geographically weighted measures of exposure to school quality—such as teacher and peer characteristics, and financial costs—and investigate (1) the direct relationship between these dimensions of school quality and contraceptive use and (2) the indirect relationship via attitudes about family members’ household roles. These analyses provide new information on the broader issue of how social context influences the adoption of innovative behaviors by exploring the wide reaching effects of educational context on individuals. Findings show that: increased exposure to these aspects of school quality throughout the study area, but not necessarily at the closest school, is related to higher rates of contraceptive use; that school quality early in the life course can have long-term consequences for individual behavior; and that attitudes about familial roles may be a mechanism that explains at least part of the effect of geographically weighted measures of school quality.