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Ramadan School Holidays as a Natural Experiment:Impacts of Seasonality on School Dropout in Bangladesh

Discussion Papers


April 2011


Abstract In 2000, Ramadan school vacation coincided with the original annual exam period of December in Bangladesh. This forced schools to pre-pone their final exam schedules in November, which was the month before the harvest begins. ‘Ramadan 2000’ is a natural experiment that reduced the labor demand for children during the exam period. Using household level panel data of 2000 and 2003, and after controlling for various unobservable variations including individual fixed effects, aggregate year effects, and subdistrict-level year effects, this paper finds evidence of statistically significant impact of seasonal labor demand on school dropout in Bangladesh among the children from agricultural households.

Keywords: Drop out, child labor, seasonal labor demand, school calendar
JEL Classification: I28, J24, O13, O15

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