Theses Doctoral

Internal displacement and the education of school-aged children in Colombia

Duenas, Ximena

Internal displacement in Colombia is a country-wide phenomenon that has affected almost five percent of the country's population or 14% of the country's rural population. Colombia's violent conflict has not reached yet a post-conflict stage since no peace agreement has been reached between the State and violent actors. This makes an analysis of the effects of displacement and of the state-led initiatives relating to it, such as the Familias en Accion para la poblacion desplazada , highly relevant to the current status of this humanitarian crisis. Using a unique data set from Colombia, the National Survey of Displaced Households (ENHD) performed in 2004, this thesis examines the educational situation of displaced children and studies the impact of various forces, including government policy, on the schooling of displaced children. The dissertation investigates the following questions: 1) What are the main factors determining the enrollment of internally displaced children at the destination municipalities? 2) What is the effect associated with the participation in the Familias en Accion for IDPs Program on enrollment? 3) What is the prevalence of school overage among internally displaced children and what are its main determinants? With respect to the first research question, the results show that children who are members of a female-headed household have a lower probability of being enrolled in school. Conversely, children whose head of household is literate have a higher probability of enrollment. The research is also able to examine the impact of how long families have been displaced. The results show that after a year, children's probability of enrollment increases significantly, bouncing upwards relative to the period immediately following displacement. Finally, the results show that higher household income is associated with greater enrollment, but in a nonlinear way: if a household belongs to the first three income quintiles the probability of enrollment does not increase significantly, but for the fourth and fifth income quintiles, the probability of enrollment increases by 10 and 12 percentage points evaluated at the mean. The second research question examines the effect of the Familias en Accion for IDPs Program on enrollment using a difference in differences (DID) model. The results obtained using the DID approach show that children whose families are aid beneficiaries are more likely to be enrolled in schools, holding other things constant. The third research question in the dissertation looks at the prevalence - and determinants - of school overage among internally displaced children. It is estimated that there are two years of overage after displacement which comes from the fact that this population is forced to leave their places of origin and resettle in other destinations, time during which children are not be able to enroll in school thus affecting their attainment.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Economics and Education
Thesis Advisors
Rivera-Batiz, Francisco
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
January 15, 2013