Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group


First Advisor

Hans-Peter Kohler


Over the past half century, low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) have undergone profound transformations in the realm of the family, accompanied by shifts in gender norms and practices, and dramatic increases in schooling. Rising educational attainment has in turn been a by-product of micro-level behavioral changes on the part of families, alongside macro-level socio-structural factors such as industrialization, urbanization, and targeted educational policies. This dissertation advances the field of social demography by exploring the interrelations between family, gender, and educational dynamics across LMICs. Although the three essays represent self-contained articles, they all trace linkages between these three dimensions with a focus on LMICs, thus contributing new empirical knowledge on policy-relevant population processes in contexts that have to date received less scholarly attention. The first chapter provides a macro-level overview on the changing nature of families across multiple domains with advances in socio-economic development. Its focus is on family change, yet gender features in the type of indicators considered, some of which are computed separately for men and women – showing vastly divergent patterns – while others capture men and women’s bargaining power within the couple. Educational expansion features throughout the discussion as one key driver of family change and one component of the Human Development Index (HDI) proxying for socio-economic development. The second chapter provides an overview on trends, variation, and implications of educational assortative mating for inequality in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Mating patterns are vital to understanding the demographic makeup of households, such as family formation, composition, and breakdown. The focus on education and gender is inherent in the type of question raised (educational homogamy/heterogamy) and perspective adopted (couple). The third chapter explores the effect of a cash-transfer intervention given to parents on children’s schooling and unpaid work in rural Morocco. As such, the family focus is tied to a parental investment perspective, while the educational focus comes from the policy considered – a cash transfer promoted by the government – and the outcomes analyzed – school dropout and grade progression. Lastly, gender features throughout the discussion as analyses consider heterogeneity by gender, and unpaid care dynamics show striking gender differences.