The role of poor health status, risks of debilitating conditions in the future and perceived barriers to occupational attainment on the educational aspirations of Ethiopian youth

Optat H. Tengia, Brown University
David P. Lindstrom, Brown University

Net of the effect of family and community context we investigate the role of individual health status, perceptions of health risks, and perceived barriers to occupational attainment on educational aspirations of youth. Youth may discount their occupational attainment, and hence their educational ambitions, based on perceptions of vulnerability in the future to debilitating health conditions and anticipation of discrimination in the labor force by gender and ethnicity. We use a two-step Heckman selection model to estimate the impact of these factors on adolescent educational aspirations, adjusting for in-school status. The paper uses data for 2,085 youth age 13-17 from a longitudinal survey conducted in southwestern Ethiopia. Preliminary results suggest that boys’ educational aspirations are more sensitive to perceptions of health risks than girls’, and girls who do not anticipate gender inequality as a barrier to their occupational attainment are just as likely as boys to have high educational aspirations.

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Presented in Poster Session 2: Fertility, family and children