Social investment in schooling in low-income countries has increased greatly in the 1990s and 2000s because of the robust associations among schooling and demographic, economic, and health outcomes. This analysis investigates whether targeted school-attendance stipend programs succeeded in reducing gender and socioeconomic inequalities in school attainment among a sample of the rural poor in Bangladesh. Multivariate analyses find that targeted stipend programs helped to reduce the gender attainment gap. Females had an increased probability of participating in stipend programs, and returns to stipend participation were significantly higher for females. However, stipend programs failed to reduce the relative achievement gap between children of different socioeconomic backgrounds: low socioeconomic status (SES) was associated with a decreased probability of stipend participation, and stipend-related schooling gains for lower-SES females were matched by comparable gains for higher–SES females. Meanwhile, there was no significant association between stipend participation and schooling attainment for males.

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