Chris Blattman

Is education liberation? Evidence from Kenyan girls.

We assess the social and political impacts of a randomized girls’ merit scholarship incentive program in Kenya that raised test scores and secondary school enrollment.

Counter to modernization theory, increased human capital did not produce more pro-democratic or secular attitudes and, if anything, it strengthened ethnic identification.

Consistent with the empowerment view, young women in program schools had fewer arranged marriages and were less likely to accept domestic violence as legitimate.

Moreover, the program increased objective political knowledge, and reduced both acceptance of political authorities and satisfaction with politics. However, in our Kenyan context, this rejection of the status quo did not translate into greater perceived political efficacy, community participation or voting intentions. Instead, the program increased the perceived legitimacy of political violence.

A new paper by Friedman, Kremer, Miguel and Thornton.

Very nice conclusions, except for the violence bit. Interestingly, in a paper soon to be released, I find that government grants and economic success make Ugandan women twice as likely to have disputes with police and leaders, and to threaten others.

Empowerment = entering the world = conflict? Especially if you are a poor woman surrounded by bigoted males? To be explored, but I think I have a prediction.

On a side note, as a graduate student, I actually attended one of the scholarship distribution ceremonies from this experiment. It was my second day ever in Africa, and the day ended with me and the distribution team almost being stoned for being demons.

That was the first and last time I experienced the continent living up to its B-movie stereotype. The ten years since have been very pleasant and more or less demon free.

4 Responses

  1. An accurate liberal education takes in all believed. Discoveries an individual to various behaviors of political, social, historical and maybe ethical held. Confidently without presenting any unfairness to anyone other than that they should all have the dead-on to be received, read, listened to and examined. It goals to clarify the whole individual and to give that individual a preparation in the essentials of what an educated people should tell, such as past, science, math, writing, technology and social sciences in all-purpose. After this fix as it were the people is acceptable of their own free will and or financial commanding to select a way that treaties with their capabilities and wishes of how to make an existing and the information that creating a living is not the same as creating a life.

  2. It seems that this issue relates to education and opportunities allowing women to participate more fully within the institutions and systems which are available to them.

    If the official systems are not working or only reinforce an existing agenda which is seen as corrupt by these women, then perhaps it is perfectly sensible that increased education would make them more likely to participate in the form of political participation which appears to them to be most effective?

    Unfortunately I am pretty ignorant about the particular political systems in Kenya so I don’t know to what extent this is true…

    [PS I hate this teeny tiny comment box!]

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