Economics ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 8-1-2023


This dissertation is a collection of chapters that demonstrate the factors affecting human capital and labor market outcomes of adolescents and the gender differences in the quality of employment of adults in South Africa.

The second chapter evaluates the impact of South Africa’s Child Support Grant, an unconditional means-tested grant provided to age-eligible children, on adolescent nutrition outcomes. The findings suggest that welfare programs can alleviate extreme undernutrition and overnutrition among females during the critical growth period of adolescence.

In the third chapter, I use longitudinal data from rural South Africa linked with geospatial climate indicators to examine the effect of rainfall realizations on the schooling and work decisions of adolescents and young adults. The results document that rainfall fluctuations induce human capital investment changes and labor supply adjustments among adolescents in agricultural as well as non-agricultural households.

In the fourth chapter, I examine the gender-differentiated effects of drought shocks on occupational choices in rural South Africa and the role of educational attainment. I find that drought shocks aggravate existing gender inequalities in participation in rural labor markets, especially among the lower educated.

Overall, my dissertation builds evidence on the need to consider the gender-differentiated impacts of policy interventions and economic shocks in developing countries, particularly for adolescents.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Economics

First Committee Member (Chair)

Kira M. Villa

Second Committee Member

Matias Fontenla

Third Committee Member

Xiaoxue Li

Fourth Committee Member

Catalina Herrera Almanza




human capital, adolescence, labor, nutrition, gender, weather shocks

Document Type


Available for download on Friday, August 01, 2025

Included in

Economics Commons