Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Economics (PhD)

Degree Level





Arya B. Gaduh

Committee Member

Garry D. Ferrier

Second Committee Member

Gema Zamarro Rodriguez


Development Economics, Economics of Education, Gender, Local Development Councils, Military Withdrawal, University Entrance Examination


This dissertation evaluates the effects of three development interventions on female education in Afghanistan: 1) effects of foreign military withdrawal on females’ demand for higher education; 2) impacts of PEZAK, a community-driven university entrance preparation, on student enrollment and performance in tertiary education; and 3) long-term effects of National Solidarity Program (NSP), that established gender-balanced local development councils, on female enrollment. Foreign military withdrawal increased female participation in higher education by 0.3 percentage points from a base value of 0.05 percent participation per capita. The PEZAK increased test scores by 0.17 standard deviations and had a positiveeffect on enrollment in top programs. Female students exposed to the PEZAK had a lower likelihood of enrollment in low-rank universities as compared to treated male students. In areas with favorable attitudes toward women, the NSP increased female enrollment in higher grades. In culturally conservative places, the NSP was counterproductive. Findings in this dissertation inform development policies related to women’s empowerment in conservative and fragile state settings.