Author(s): Favara, Marta
Organisation(s): University of Oxford (UK). Dept of International Development, ODID. Young Lives
Pages: 31 p.
Serie: Young Lives Working Paper
Series Volume: 145
Most economic decisions that individuals take are forward-looking and are therefore shaped by the desire or ambition to achieve a goal. And yet, little is known about how aspirations shape decision-making. This paper partially addresses this gap using a rich longitudinal dataset following a cohort of children in Ethiopia for over a decade between the age of 8 and 19. The authors investigate the role of early aspirations for human capital investments in a context of poverty, traditional social expectations and gender roles. More specifically, they focus on three related questions. First, they investigate the relation between aspirations and boys’ and girls’ educational attainment, as an indicator of cumulative investments in education. Second, they look at how parents and children form their aspirations and at the transmission of aspirations from one generation to the other. Third, they explore the gender-based bias in aspirations and investigate whether an initial pro-boys aspiration bias might constitute a source of gender inequality perpetuation particularly in a context of extreme poverty.