Centre for Development Economics
Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics


Cycling to School: Increasing Secondary School Enrollment for Girls in India


Nishith Prakash

University of Connecticut

Thursday, 8th August 2013 at 3:00 PM

Venue : Seminar Room (First Floor)
Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics

All are cordially invited


Gender gaps in primary school enrollment in developing countries have been falling, but there continues to be a significant gender gap in secondary school enrollment. We study the impact of an innovative program in the Indian state of Bihar that provided girls who continued to secondary school with a bicycle that would improve access to school. Using data from a large representative household survey, we employ a triple difference approach (using boys and the neighboring state of Jharkhand as comparison groups) and find that being in a cohort that was exposed to the Cycle program increased girls’ age-appropriate enrollment in secondary school by 40% (a five percentage point gain on a base enrollment rate of thirteen percent) and also reduced the gender gap in age-appropriate secondary school enrollment by 40%. Parametric and nonparametric decompositions of the triple-difference estimate as a function of distance to the nearest secondary school show that the increases in girls’ secondary school enrollment were significantly greater in villages where the nearest secondary school was further away, suggesting that a key mechanism for program impact was the reduction in the ‘distance cost’ of school attendance induced by the bicycle. We find a positive effect of exposure to the Cycle program on the number of girls appearing in the externally evaluated secondary school certificate (SSC) examinations, but find no impact on the number of girls who pass the exam.


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