The proposed project will extend a remarkable longitudinal (panel) data set of educational, health, nutritional, demographic and labor market outcomes among a sample of Kenyan youth. The existing data set was collected from 1998-2009 with partial support from an NIH/NICHD R01, and the proposed project will extend it for an additional six years, through 2015. The resulting 17-year longitudinal data set will allow for rigorous estimation of the long-run impact of health and human capital interventions on a range of life outcomes, and for an exploration of the determinants of "successful" transitions to adulthood. In particular, this project proposes to locate and re-survey approximately 6,800 respondents of the Kenya Life Panel Survey (KLPS), an unusual longitudinal data set comprised of Kenyan youth, many of whom were beneficiaries of earlier health and human capital interventions. These interventions include (i) a health program that provided deworming medication to more than 30,000 primary school children starting in 1998, (ii) a merit-based scholarship award program supporting school fees for female students in primary schools enrolling nearly 12,000 individuals in grades 5 and 6 in 2001-2002, and (iii) a program launched in 2008 to provide tuition vouchers to support up to two years of vocational education for roughly 1,100 young adults, all of whom had earlier been part of the deworming or scholarship program samples. Since the selection of beneficiaries for these earlier interventions was randomized, the data collection will allow us to estimate how exogenous gains in childhood health or education (or a combination of the two) affect a wide range of adult life outcomes. In previous and ongoing research, these interventions were shown to have substantial short- to medium-term impacts on beneficiaries. Despite strong a priori reasons to anticipate significant long-term labor market and demographic benefits from better childhood health and education, these effects have rarely been demonstrated empirically, in large part due to the near total absence of extended longitudinal data of the kind we propose to collect. Evidence is urgently needed by public policymakers attempting to design effective health and education programs in less developed countries. Furthermore, the proposed data collection will provide an exceptional opportunity to examine the determinants of "successful" adulthood transitions for adolescents in a setting characterized by high poverty rates, unemployment, fertility, and disease burdens. During recent KLPS data collection in 2007-2009, respondents were on average 22 years old, merely 38% were married and 44% had children. As these individuals progress from their late teens and early 20s into full-fledged adulthood, many will embark on important life transitions including marriage and family formation, job search, entrepreneurship and migration, presenting a rare opportunity to document in detail their life trajectories over the next six years. The resulting multi-round KLPS data set will follow the median sample respondent from age 12 through to age 30.
This study estimates the long-run impacts of youth health and educational investments on life outcomes in rural Kenya. These human capital investments were introduced through randomized experiments, and this prospective design helps overcome the key methodological problem of confounding and allows us to convincingly establish the causal impact of human capital improvements on outcomes including adult health, nutrition, marriage, fertility, and labor market success, including employment sector and earnings. Two additional survey rounds will be collected to extend the Kenya Life Panel Survey (KLPS) dataset, creating an interdisciplinary, multi-use longitudinal dataset of 6,800 rural Kenyan youth for up to 17 years (1998-2015).