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Working Paper

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This paper examines the impact of programs that provide incentives for school attendance in rural Bangladesh-a food-for-education program for poor primary-school children and a secondary-school scholarship scheme for girls. Detailed time-use data were available from a 1991-92 village study conducted prior to the programs’ implementation as well as for two points in time in 1995 and 1996 when the programs were in place. The time children spent in school increased dramatically, especially for adolescent girls. Families were able to take advantage of the school programs because of the short school days required and because of the compatibility of household work with schooling. Data from 1992 and 1995 show that a sudden increase occurred in marriage postponement for adolescent girls, because the secondary-school scholarship program required parents to sign a bond assuring that their daughters would not be married before age 18. The effects of the incentives varied by gender. Adolescent boys were less likely to remain in school and more likely to leave to do wage work. Parents may have decided to send adolescent girls to school and adolescent boys to work in response to the incentives.