Principal Investigator: Dr. Dana Burde
CERP Staff: Mariam Rafique Vadria (Research Manager)
Project Type: Quantitative, longitudinal, and survey-based, with complementary qualitative interviews
Start Date: May 2017
Over half of Pakistan’s population is under 30 years old. Globally, large youth populations present both enormous potential and significant policy challenges. In response in many countries, governments and international aid agencies dedicate significant resources to education programs. Despite the emphasis placed on education, scant empirical research investigates the causal relationship between access to education and positive or negative attitudes and behaviors among youth in developing countries.
Our study offers a rigorous testing of this relationship. THINK seeks to understand access to tertiary education among youth in Karachi and its relationship to their hopes and future aspirations. THINK partners with universities across Karachi to survey applicants to university, with a focus upon two groups: those who narrowly pass the admissions process and are offered admission, and those who narrowly fail the process and are not. On average, the group of applicants just above and just below the threshold of acceptance resemble each other in all important characteristics, namely those that will determine future attitudes and behaviors. They thus differ primarily in their access to university. We will survey these two groups at three points in time: (1) before the release of university admissions decisions, (2) shortly after the release, and (3) one year after the release. In so doing, we will observe the initial effects of access to university education on each individual and across both groups, then measure whether these effects diminish, persist, or amplify with time.
By measuring the impact of educational access in Karachi, we will better understand how access to university education affects youths’ hopes, aspirations, and future trajectories. With this knowledge, and by disseminating our findings to key stakeholders and policymakers, we aim to facilitate improved education policies and programs for youth in Pakistan and beyond.