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Seminar: Recovery from an early life shock through improved access to schools: Evidence from Indonesia by by Dr. Tushar Bharati, University of Southern California, USA
Abstract: We examine the extent to which improved access to schools can help individuals overcome the impact of early life resource shocks as proxied by low rainfall in the first year of life. Using information from the fifth wave of the Indonesian Family Life Survey, we show that individuals with relatively low levels of rainfall in the first year of life have lower educational attainment. Next, using exogenous geographic variation in the intensity of Indonesian primary school construction program, we show that individuals who experienced low rainfall in the first year of life but later benefited from the school construction program recovered completely from their educational deficit. For individuals who did not experience the adverse rainfall shock in the first year of life, school construction did not increase schooling. Evidence suggests that this was, in part, a result of deteriorating school infrastructure and increased competition to get into middle and high schools that accompanied the school construction and affected the high rainfall individuals disproportionately.