Publication Title: Population
Abstract: The importance of family solidarity networks is routinely cited in the literature to explain why the relationship between number of children and schooling in sub-Saharan Africa does not follow the predicted theoretical pattern. The dilemma between “quantity” and “quality” of children may be less acute for parents if they can foster out their children to the extended family, or receive monetary support from them to pay for schooling costs. However, there has been little empirical exploration of this hypothesis due to a lack of suitable data. Drawing on an original dataset (Ouagadougou Health and Demographic Surveillance Systems, Demtrend 2012 retrospective survey), this study uses logistic regression models to study the combined effect of family networks and number of siblings on schooling of children in suburban districts of Ouagadougou. The findings show that large families more frequently receive support from family networks for schooling than smaller ones. Moreover, family networks are able to offset the negative effect of large family size on school enrolment, but only for a part of the population, the poorest being excluded.