Gansu Survey of Children and Families Papers

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version



In press from:

Meng Zhao, Paul Glewwe, What determines basic school attainment in developing countries? Evidence from rural China, Economics of Education Review, In Press, Accepted Manuscript, Available online 9 October 2009, ISSN 0272-7757

DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2009.10.008


This paper analyzes recent household survey data from Gansu, a less developed province in Northwest China, to examine school attainment in a poor rural area of China. Censored ordered probit regressions are used to estimate the determinants of years of schooling. Child nutritional status, as measured by height-for-age Z-scores, and household income have positive effects on completed years of schooling. Mothers’ education and attitudes toward children's education also have strong effects. Children of mothers with 6 years of primary education will go to school 1.4 years longer than their counterparts whose mothers who have no education. Science labs in lower secondary schools appear to have positive impacts; providing a science lab is estimated to extend years of schooling by 1.8 years. Finally, teachers’ experience in lower secondary schools also has a strong positive impact on school attainment.


Demand for schooling, economic development, child nutrition, China



Date Posted: 15 October 2009

This document has been peer reviewed.