Bau on Intersection of Culture and Policy

Assistant Professor of Public Policy Natalie Bau was interviewed by the American Economic Association about her research on the effect of pension reform on traditional family arrangements in Indonesia and Ghana. Bau explained that she was curious about how traditional customs of sons and daughters living with their parents after getting married might incentivize parents to make educational investments. She found that pensions led parents to invest less in the education of children who would have traditionally supported them in old age, and it also resulted in more of those children leaving home after marriage rather than continuing to live with their parents, as was the customary practice. She noted that even though her research shows that the pension program in Indonesia is reducing female education, there are still benefits. The best solution would be to “combine the pension policy with other policies that mitigate these negative effects on female education,” she concluded.


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