Menstruation, Sanitary Products and School Attendance: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation
Oster, Emily, and Rebecca L. Thornton. 2011. "Menstruation, Sanitary Products and School Attendance: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation." American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 3(1): 91-100.
Policy-makers have cited menstruation and lack of sanitary products as barriers to girls' schooling. We evaluate these claims using a randomized evaluation of sanitary products provision to girls in Nepal. We report two findings. First, menstruation has a very small impact on school attendance. We estimate that girls miss a total of 0.4 days in a 180 day school year. Second, improved sanitary technology has no effect on reducing this (small) gap. Girls who randomly received sanitary products were no less likely to miss school during their period. We can reject (at the 1 percent level) the claim that better menstruation products close the attendance gap. (JEL I21, J13, J16, O12)
Country of focus: Nepal.