Birth Registration and the Impact on Educational Attainment
The drivers of educational attainment have been the subject of much research both in the developed and the developing world. Yet, nothing is known about the effect of birth registration on schooling outcomes. Birth registration is not only a fundamental human right but also a requirement to obtain additional documents of legal identity and access many government benefits. Using data for the Dominican Republic, this paper is the first to shed light on the causal impact of the lack of birth registration on education. Controlling for potential endogeneity and standard socioeconomic determinants of education, this paper finds that children without documents of birth registration do not face lower chances of entering the schooling system. Yet, the absence of birth registration becomes a critical obstacle to graduate from primary school and translates into fewer years of overall educational attainment.