Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dr. Thomas A. Mroz

Second Advisor

Dr. Alberto Chong

Third Advisor

Dr. Pierre Nguimkeu

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Lindsey K. Novak


I investigate the impact of a legal ban on female genital cutting (FGC) using background information on girls and their families. Furthermore, I incorporate the impact of income shocks, represented by drought events, in addition to the aforementioned factors, and analyze how both exogenous variables influence the prevalence of cutting. Using the previous results and a two-stage estimation, I assess the effects of FGC on health and education outcomes.

My analysis relies on the Demographic and Health Surveys conducted in Senegal and Mali from 1995 to 2018, which offer nationally representative data on health, education, and FGC. I specifically focus on girls aged 14 or younger and gather retrospective information regarding the age at cutting. Also, I develop a strategy to handle missing data on the age at cutting for girls whose information was not recalled during the surveys.

My study uniquely examines the combined impact of the law banning FGC and income shocks. Local droughts serve as a proxy for economic shocks, affecting agricultural production and household incomes. I investigate how the law and exogenous droughts influence the likelihood of FGC. To measure drought, I use rainfall data from the University of Delaware, matched to each cluster in the DHS data from Senegal and Mali. By applying a gamma distribution, I generate an extended realization of weather events, classifying a cluster as experiencing a drought event if its rainfall falls below the 15th percentile.

The results indicate that while the ban reduced the prevalence of FGC, income shocks significantly alter the effect of the law. The study shows that when families face income shocks, they offset the effect of their loss in revenue by engaging in more cutting. Building on these findings, I calculate the predicted probability of undergoing FGC at different ages. I use these age-specific probabilities as Instrumental Variable to estimate the effects of FGC on health and education outcomes. The findings demonstrate adverse health consequences resulting from FGC, as well as diminished school attendance and fewer years of education for girls who have undergone the procedure.