Project Type

Facts & Figures


Côte d’Ivoire


Rural cocoa-growing areas




Households with primary school-aged children


  • Program design and implementation
  • Advance scientific knowledge on the determinants of human capital investment decisions by households
  • Inform decision-making and policy for improved educational outcomes


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About the project

Improving the quality of education and giving children from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to access quality schooling are central concerns of both academics and policymakers in many countries around the world.

In Côte d’Ivoire, two main laws (1995, 2015) aim to reform the education system and make public education compulsory and free for children aged 6–16. However, enrollments, school attendance, and learning outcomes remain low, especially in rural areas with a persistent significant gender gap. Evidence-based design of targeted policies and practices is therefore required to curb current education challenges.


Enforcement of compulsory schooling laws remains weak in rural areas. The interplay of competing factors affects parents’ motivation to comply with the law and the allocation of their children’s time between education, work, and leisure. Existing research is fragmented and has focused on specific barriers which have been examined separately in different contexts.


A better understanding of how households respond to a policy change that aims to lower the cost of public education and how they make strategic decisions over investing in children’s education is fundamental to understanding the ultimate impact of interventions. This research project relies on state-of-the art methods and cutting-edge econometric analysis to examine the effects of school reform in Côte d’Ivoire. The study also sets out to understand the mechanisms through which compulsory schooling laws can change households’ behavior, ultimately providing evidence on how informing parents can increase investment in children’s schooling.

Results to date

Desk research of nationally representative Côte d’Ivoire surveys is in progress to understand past and current socio-economic trends in Côte d’Ivoire.

The second phase of this study includes a randomized controlled trial (RCT) in rural areas in Côte d’Ivoire. Randomly selected households will receive different types of information. The impact on households’ behavior and school enrollment will be examined.

Scientific evidence

Evidence from developing countries shows that increasing the provision of schooling resources and education policies does not automatically lead to an increase in students’ time in school and improved learning outcomes.

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