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PhD Defense: Claire Ricard

Published on June 30, 2021 Updated on July 7, 2021
Le 09 July 2021 De 16:00 à 18:30

Family investments and gender


Martine Audibert, Research Director, CNRS-Université Clermont Auvergne
Fouzi Mourji, Professor, Université Hassan II
Francesca Marchetta, Associate Professor, Université Clermont Auvergne
Isabelle Chort, Professor, Université de Pau
Abdelhak Kamal, Professor, Université Hassan I
Lhacen Belhcen, Professor, Université Hassan II
Abdellatif Komat, Professor, Université Hassan II
Louise-Pierrette Mvono, Senior Education Specialist, Banque mondiale


This thesis examines the effect of three little-studied factors of family investment in education as a function of gender.

Chapter 1 analyzes the effect of birth order on the transition into adulthood in Madagascar. Using micro-panel data collected in 2004 and 2012, we find that firstborns leave school school earlier than their younger siblings. They reach a lower level of education, which limits the development of their cognitive skills. Elders are also required to work outside the family business at a younger age. We only observe an effect of birth order on age at marriage for girls. Firstborn girls marry earlier. We believe that our results illustrate a strategy of household’s investment in children’s education. The precocious transition of elders into adulthood provides more resources to households that can be invested in the education of younger siblings.

Chapter 2 examines the impact of mother’s age at marriage on the schooling of her children in Morocco. The results that emerge from this analysis are are quite surprising : mothers who were married young tend to invest more in their children’s education, particularly in their daughters’. Given that the positive effect of early maternal marriage is only found for younger generations of parents, we assume that our results are a reflection of a growing importance given by parents to education, especially for girls and parents who have been particularly deprived of access to instruction.

Chapter 3 explores the effects of the Moroccan conditionnal cash-transfers program (Tayssir) on student learning. Using administrative data from the Ministry of National Education’s information system (MASSAR), we show that Tayssir continues to contribute to the reduction in school dropout, particularly for girls, nearly 10 years after its implementation. However, we find that it has not been sufficiently accompanied by supply-side interventions to allow children to learn in better conditions. We show that, boys who benefit from the cash transfer perform worse at the end of primary school exam than those who do not.We explain this result by the increase in class size induced by the reduction in school dropout in Tayssir municipalities. Concerning girls, we do not find that the increase in class size has negatively impacted their results at the end of primary school exam. On the contrary, thanks to the Tayssir program, they are more likely to graduate and to be enrolled in secondary school the following year.


Development Economics ; Education ; Gender inequality ; Intra-household allocation ; Birth order ; Educational reproduction ; Early marriage ; Conditional cash-transfers ; Madagascar ; Morocco.