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Publication . Preprint . 2021

University proximity at teenage years and educational attainment

Agwu, George,; Ben Atta, Oussama;
Published: 18 Dec 2021
Publisher: HAL CCSD
Country: France

This paper investigates the impact of geographical proximity to universities on educational attainment in Nigeria. We relate individuals level of schooling obtained from three rounds of the Nigeria's Living Standard Measurement Survey (LSMS) to spatial distance to university measured by pairing residential and university campuses GPS coordinates. To identify the effect of the distance to university, we exploit the theory of residential sorting to instrument residential proximity to university. Specifically, we instrument distance to university drawing on variations in households' proximity to state boundary posts and neighbourhood population density. The instrumental variable estimates show a negative and significant effect of distance revealing that geographical constraints during teenage years represent a barrier to the subsequent human capital acquisition. Additional results from a difference-indifference estimation strategy indicate that a large scale establishment of universities had beneficial trickle-down effects by decreasing the intention to drop out of secondary school, supporting evidence of the role of geographical constraints in the accumulation of human capital in Nigeria.


Educational attainment, Distance to university, University attendance, School dropout, Nigeria, JEL: I - Health, Education, and Welfare/I.I2 - Education and Research Institutions/I.I2.I28 - Government Policy, JEL: O - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth/O.O1 - Economic Development/O.O1.O15 - Human Resources • Human Development • Income Distribution • Migration, JEL: I - Health, Education, and Welfare/I.I2 - Education and Research Institutions/I.I2.I21 - Analysis of Education, JEL: J - Labor and Demographic Economics/J.J2 - Demand and Supply of Labor/J.J2.J24 - Human Capital • Skills • Occupational Choice • Labor Productivity, [SHS]Humanities and Social Sciences, [SHS.GESTION]Humanities and Social Sciences/Business administration

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