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Global Development Institute


The impact of microcredit on child education: quasi-experimental evidence from rural China

Jing You and Samuel Annim

This paper assesses causal effects of formal microcredit on children’s educational outcomes by using household panel data (2000 and 2004) in a poor province of northwest rural China. The unobservables between borrowers and non-borrowers are controlled in static and dynamic regression-discontinuity designs. The static analysis reveals significant positive impact of microcredit on children’s schooling years (captured by late entry, failed grades and suspended schooling from time to time) in 2000 only, and no indication of influence on academic performance for both rounds of survey. The dynamic analysis shows progressive treatment effects of microcredit on both longer schooling years and higher average scores. Formal microcredit appears to improve education in the longer term compared to the short term, and hence may have potential in relaxing the grip of educational poverty traps.