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Can Mobile Phones Improve Learning? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Niger

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  • Jenny C. Aker
  • Christopher Ksoll
  • Travis J. Lybbert

Abstract

The returns to educational investments hinge on whether such investments can improve the quality and persistence of educational gains. We report the results from a randomized evaluation of an adult education program in Niger, in which some students learned how to use simple mobile phones (Project ABC). Students in ABC villages achieved test scores that were 0.19-0.26 standard deviations higher than those in standard adult education classes, and standardized math test scores remained higher seven months after the end of classes. These results suggest that simple information technology can be harnessed to improve educational outcomes among rural populations. (JEL D83, I21, O15, O33)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 4 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 94-120

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:4:y:2012:i:4:p:94-120

Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.4.4.94
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  1. Khwaja, Asim Ijaz & Andrabi, Tahir & Das, Jishnu & Zajonc, Tristan, 2009. "Do Value-Added Estimates Add Value? Accounting for Learning Dynamics," Scholarly Articles 4435671, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
  2. Abhijit Banerjee & Shawn Cole & Esther Duflo & Leigh Linden, 2005. "Remedying Education: Evidence from Two Randomized Experiments in India," NBER Working Papers 11904, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Paul Glewwe & Michael Kremer & Sylvie Moulin & Eric Zitzewitz, 2004. "Retrospective vs. prospective analyses of school inputs: The case of flip charts in kenya," Natural Field Experiments 00256, The Field Experiments Website.
  4. Jenny Aker and Isaac M. Mbiti, 2010. "Mobile Phones and Economic Development in Africa," Working Papers 211, Center for Global Development.
  5. Hanushek, Eric A. & Wößmann, Ludger, 2008. "The role of cognitive skills in economic development," Munich Reprints in Economics 20454, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  6. Jenny C. Aker & Isaac M. Mbiti, 2010. "Mobile Phones and Economic Development in Africa," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 207-32, Summer.
  7. T. Paul Schultz, 2003. "Evidence of Returns to Schooling in Africa from Household Surveys: Monitoring and Restructuring the Market for Education," Working Papers 875, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  8. Niels-Hugo Blunch & Claus C. P�rtner, 2011. "Literacy, Skills, and Welfare: Effects of Participation in Adult Literacy Programs," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(1), pages 17 - 66.
  9. Hanushek, Eric A, 1995. "Interpreting Recent Research on Schooling in Developing Countries," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 10(2), pages 227-46, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Christopher Ksoll, Janny Aker, Danielle Miller, Karla C. Perez-Mendoza, and Susan L. Smalley, 2014. "Learning without Teachers? A Randomized Experiment of a Mobile Phone-Based Adult Education Program in Los Angeles - Working Paper 368," Working Papers 368, Center for Global Development.
  2. Elena Del Rey & Fernanda Estevan, 2011. "Conditional Cash Transfers and Education Quality in the Presence of Credit Constraints," Working Papers 1108E, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.

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