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New RISE Working Paper and Insight Note by Dean LUMS SOE Tahir Andrabi, Jishnu Das and Benjamin Daniels
The Research for Improving Systems of Education (RISE) has released a new working paper and accompanying insight note by Tahir Andrabi, Dean of the School of Education, LUMS, Jishnu Das, Professor at Georgetown University, and Benjamin Daniels, Research Fellow at Georgetown University.
The new working paper titled, 'Human Capital Accumulation and Disasters: Evidence from the Pakistan Earthquake of 2005', uses a survey conducted four years after Pakistan’s 2005 earthquake to measure how the disaster affected children’s human capital accumulation, including their health and learning outcomes, and whether welfare packages counteracted the disaster’s effects. The insight note discusses findings from the working paper, based on the study of the aftermath of the 2005 Pakistan earthquake, to discuss the long term effect of crises like COVID-19 on children's education and life outcomes.
The findings point to important implications for the COVID-19 pandemic. On average, earthquake-affected children’s test scores put them 1.5 to 2 years behind their peers in unaffected regions. This loss occurred despite the fact that households affected by the earthquake received significant financial compensation, which allowed adults’ health outcomes and community infrastructure to fully recover.
However, children with more educated mothers did not fall behind. Their mothers were able to fully insulate them from losses in learning, meaning that the earthquake widened inequalities within affected areas. Moreover, school closures accounted for only 10% of the loss in test scores. Much more was lost after children returned back to school, possibly due to children falling behind the curriculum and being unable to catch up.
The authors compute that if these deficits continue to adult life, the affected cohorts could lose 15% of their earnings every year for the rest of their lives.