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psc brown bag iconSchools, School Quality, and Marriage Timing

Scott Yabiku (Program in Sociology, School of Social and Family Dynamics, Arizona State University)

09/20/2010, at noon in room 6050 ISR-Thompson.

An important social behavior in rapidly changing societies is the transition to marriage. The transition from single to married has important consequences for both short term and long term social roles and relationships. One of the most notable changes in marriage in changing societies is the trend toward marriages that are delayed relative to historical patterns, and education is frequently invoked as a primary cause behind these trends. While prior studies offer useful insight into the role of educational institutions in a community, they have tended to overlook important variation in the schools’ institutional characteristics. Institutional characteristics refer to metrics such as school size, curriculum, school resources, the composition and qualifications of teachers, and the gender composition of the student body. Although prior research has documented how the mere presence of schools in a community is associated with a variety of individual behaviors, few studies have tested how distinct features of schools are related to individuals’ family formation. A key contribution of my analysis is to use rich measurement of multiple school characteristics across a period of over 40 years. This time span encompasses large historical variation in schools, individuals’ educational activities, and individuals’ marriage timing. The setting for this research is the Chitwan Valley in Nepal. The research is able to take advantage of detailed documentation of a setting in which the spread of mass education has taken place within the lifetimes of current residents. These unique measures provide the means to investigate multiple dimensions of changes in schools during the spread of mass education and the consequences for the marriage timing of young people.


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