Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Nusrat Farah

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2016


This paper presents evidence on how children’s educational outcomes are affected by family, social and economic backgrounds in a developing economy by exploiting data from the Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey (BDHS) 2011. In a developing country like Bangladesh, a child’s educational outcome is not only dependent on government policies but also on the child’s social and economic background. In this paper an attempt has been made to answer the question — how household conditions affect the educational attainments of children. To answer this question an examination of proximate factors associated with school dropouts has been conducted by developing Ordinary Least Square (OLS) and probit estimations to see if the models can explain the Bangladesh DHS data well. Any differential effects of the gender of the household head or across regions have been taken care of to arrive at the results. A set of independent variables has been identified representing the household status and family conditions. For the OLS model, the dependent variable chosen is the percentage of school dropouts from a particular household. For the Probit model, a dichotomous variable indicating whether the household has any number of school dropouts or not was calculated. The results showed that children from poor families with less educated parents have overall high dropout rates with a lasting effect on educational outcomes. Father’s education plays a significant role in reducing the dropout rates, whereas the mother’s education has negligible effect. It is also noted that families with more than 3 children and household members greater than 5 also have fewer number of children who are going to school. The place of residence, access to electricity and school transportation reduces the dropout rates. Also, the results for the probit model virtually mirror the OLS results. The OLS and probit do not diverge in sign or significance for most other variables either such as urban-rural location and father’s education. This paper is a valuable contribution for assessing the policies taken by the Government of Bangladesh because Bangladesh’s school dropout rate has increased over the last few years. This paper is the first of its kind as it uses a different methodology to assess the effect of household conditions on children’s educational outcomes.