Samford University faculty members, Sara Helms McCarty, professor of economics in Brock School of Business, and Rachel Hagues, associate professor in the School of Public Health, have partnered to complete cross disciplinary research. Their work, which combines the economics and global community development disciplines, has been published by the Journal of Human Rights and Social Work.
The article, “The Consequences of Forcing Pregnant Girls Out of School: A Study Focused on Tanzania,” examines Tanzania’s policy toward pregnant schoolgirls and the consequences of forcing them out of school.
McCarty and Hagues found that when women and girls pursue an education, they have better life outcomes. Their research examines the relationship between delaying pregnancy and educational attainment, employment and select wealth indicators utilizing data from Tanzania’s Demographic and Health Survey. Findings indicate that young women who complete an education do indeed have better economic outcomes and enhanced well-being. The link between pregnancy and educational attainment has implications for delaying childbirth. Findings related to education and age at first birth have ramifications for policies and programs that get young women back in school even if they have given birth.
A majority of McCarty’s expertise focuses on labor, experimental and behavioral economics. She also has published work on topics such as philanthropy, volunteering and policy related to service learning and community service, education policy, and religion and giving. Hagues’ expertise centers around global community development and collaboration.
Both professors expressed the value of joining together to implement cross disciplinary research.
McCarty said, “Working with Dr. Hagues, who has a Ph.D. in human development and family science and a master’s social work, has been a fantastic way to expand my view of the world and the kinds of research questions worth exploring. Our different training and academic disciplines come together to allow us to consider both the quantitative and qualitative approaches to research questions, in this case with implications for policy in Tanzania, one of her areas of expertise.”
Hagues said, “I have loved working with Dr. McCarty to better understand how to explain things in economic terms. Being able to explain the potential economic outcome of policies and practice is a powerful way to make a case to leaders and policy makers. I’m hopeful our work will make a difference and that we will see girls receive more equal rights when it comes to their ability to access education.”