Can families in low-income contexts “pull themselves up by their bootstraps?” In rural Gambia, caregivers with high aspirations for their children's future education and career, measured before the child starts school, invest substantially more in their children’s education. Despite this, essentially none of these children are literate or numerate three years later. In contrast, a bundled supply-side intervention administered in these same areas generates large literacy and numeracy gains. Conditional on receipt of this intervention, children of high-aspirations caregivers are 25 percent more likely to achieve literacy and numeracy than those of low-aspirations caregivers. Our results show that even in very low-income contexts, greater caregiver aspirations for children can map onto substantially different child learning outcomes, but only in the presence of adequate complementary inputs.
Aspirations, Education, Poverty, Supply and Demand
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