Hee-Seung Yang | Monash University 

In 1994, Bangladesh introduced the Female Secondary School Stipend Program, which made secondary education free for rural girls. This paper examines the long-term effects of the stipend program on education, marriage, fertility and labor market outcomes of women. We find that the stipend increased years of education for eligible girls by 14 to 25 percent. These girls were more likely to get married later and have fewer children. They also had more autonomy in making decisions about household purchases, health care and visiting relatives. They were more likely to work in the formal sector than the agricultural or informal sector. Eligible girls were likely to marry more educated husbands, who had better occupations and were closer in age to their own. Their children's health outcomes also improved. Our results are robust to a variety of empirical specifications and a placebo treatment. These results imply that school-based stipend programs can increase female empowerment through positive effects on schooling and marriage market outcomes over the long-term.

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