Education and the timing of sexual initiation and marriage in rural Malawi: a longitudinal analysis of the effect of school participation, school dropout and cognitive ability

Erica Soler-Hampejsek, Population Council
Barbara S. Mensch, Population Council
Paul C. Hewett, Population Council

While the prevalence of early marriage has declined in sub-Saharan Africa in the last couple of decades, the prevalence of premarital sex has increased. Women’s education has been positively associated with age at first marriage throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Girls who are enrolled in school are less likely to engage in premarital sex than their out-of-school peers, but it is not clear whether this is also the case for men. In this study we will examine the association between education and sexual initiation and marriage using a unique longitudinal survey conducted among young people in rural Malawi. The analysis will estimate multiple decrement tables for sexual initiation before marriage and within marriage. It will then use hazard models to explore the effects of education on age at first sex and age at first marriage. Finally, it will estimate a joint model to account for potential endogeneity between these three behavioral processes.

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Presented in Poster Session 1: Reproductive health, HIV-AIDS, poverty and gender