Three essays on microfinance and education
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This dissertation consists of three essays on microfinance and education. The first essay employs panel data from the Kyrgyzstan Household Integrated Survey from 2006 to 2010 to analyze household micro-credit allocation. A multivariate Probit model is developed and populated with borrowers’ loan allocations. Key factors considered are education, gender, equipment ownership, and geographical region. Results indicate that the Naryn region has the largest impact on borrowers’ likelihood to allocate loans toward food and the smallest (negative) impact on the probability of starting a new business. Mobile phone and livestock ownership are identified as two key factors, which decrease borrowers’ probability of using loans to purchase food and increase the probability of agricultural investment or to start a business. The second essay analyzes the relationship between racial diversity, school performance, and school location for elementary schools in Georgia. The results indicate that the relationship between racial diversity and school performance depends on school location. In metropolitan areas, an increase in racial diversity has a positive effect on minority students’ achievement scores while there is no corresponding decline in white students’ performance. In rural areas, either no significant effect was observed or it was followed by a reduction in the achievement scores of white students. The results of this study suggest that educational policy goals defined at the state level to foster school performance should be further differentiated according to the student population. The third essay investigates the transportation cost of the voluntary inter-district school transfer program in the Atlanta Metropolitan Area (AMA). In this essay, cluster analysis was employed to recognize low and high performing schools while the distribution of the non-affluent students was realized with the centroids of the Voronoi diagram. These findings indicate that, in the Atlanta Metropolitan Area, the differences in the school performance are more clustered between school districts than within them. In addition, low-income students are less isolated from high performing schools than non-white students. This suggests that the voluntary inter-district school transfer program based on color-blind actions should be combined with policies aimed at alleviating the isolation of non-white students in the AMA.