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Impact of Natural Disaster on Education Outcomes: Evidence from Bangladesh

The impact of natural disaster on income, assets and livelihoods is well documented. The literature largely focuses on loss of physical capital (e.g., house, livestock, crop, etc.), its consequences on the income earning opportunities of households and their coping strategies including migration. What is less understood is the effect on human capital and its long-term consequences. While the impact on health outcomes has received some attention in recent times, robust analysis of the impact of natural disaster on education outcome is negligible. The goal of this study is to investigate the relationship between natural disaster and human capital formation at school. Since flood is a frequent event in Bangladesh, it is important to learn whether there exists a causal relationship in the short-run from flood to schooling outcomes, and the extent the education production process is affected during a flood. Specifically, the objective is to learn about how flood affects regular school activities as well as academic outcome such as passing rate, drop-out, repetition rate, etc. Another specific focus of this study is to find out if students from different socio-economic group, students from extreme poor, for example, are affected from flood in an unequal manner. This study will also track the paths through which flood can impact education outcome such as public examination results as well as school level examination attendance and results.  Both school level and household level inputs can be affected due to floods and these might lead to lower level of learning and poorer examination results. 

Bangladesh, which is a flood prone delta, offers a very rich context to study the impact of flood on education outcome. Understanding of how school and household level inputs are affected by flood is central to estimating the impact of flood on education outcomes. In addition to exhausting available secondary data on education and flood, the study will conduct primary survey to collect household level data to understand the channels that work through household level inputs. Once implemented, it will provide useful insight on mitigation and adaptation strategies to minimize the impact of flood on education outcome.  

Team: Dr. Mohammad Mainul Hoque (Team leader), Dr. Kazi Iqbal, Paritosh K. Roy

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