The authors use unique individual-level panel data from Ethiopia to investigate the role of aspirations for human-capital investments. More specifically, they investigate how parental and children’s aspirations form and document the relation between early aspirations and educational attainment at the age of 15 and 19. They find that aspirations are predictive of the number of year of schooling completed upon controlling for cognitive and non-cognitive skills together with a broad set of individuals and household-level characteristics. Interestingly, this correlation is stronger for boys than for girls. They find evidence of an early age pro-boys gender bias in aspirations which is diverted by age 19 when more girls than boys are still enroled at school. Finally, they documented the transmission of aspirations from parents to children and the role played by parental non-educational expectations in explaining this gender bias.
Young Lives is an international study of childhood poverty, following the lives of 12,000 children in 4 countries (Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam) over 15 years. Young Lives is funded by the UK Department for International Development.
Favara, Marta (2017) ‘Do Dreams Come True? Aspirations and Educational Attainments of Ethiopian Boys and Girls’ in: Journal of African Economies, https://doi.org/10.1093/jae/ejx018
Do Dreams Come True? Aspirations and Educational Attainments of Ethiopian Boys and Girls