General Article Economic costs of child marriage and low educational attainment for girls

This is a summary of recent research at The World Bank.

By Quentin Wodon

Background

There is a strong relationship between child marriage and educational attainment for girls. Child marriage is one of the leading reasons why girls drop out of school prematurely. Conversely, enabling all girls to complete their secondary education could virtually end, or at least dramatically reduce the prevalence of child marriage. Beyond this mutual relationship, child marriage and low educational attainment for girls both have large negative effects on a wide range of other development outcomes, as demonstrated in two recent studies by The World Bank. The first study, conducted by The World Bank in partnership with the International Center for Research on Women, focused on the economic costs of child marriage. The second study focused on the cost of not educating girls and is the focus of this brief summary. 

Despite substantial progress over the last two decades, girls still have on average lower...

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