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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. Glewwe, Paul & Kremer, Michael & Moulin, Sylvie & Zitzewitz, Eric, 2004. "Retrospective vs. prospective analyses of school inputs: the case of flip charts in Kenya," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 251-268, June.
  2. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Shawn Cole & Esther Duflo & Leigh Linden, 2007. "Remedying Education: Evidence from Two Randomized Experiments in India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1235-1264, 08.
  3. T. Paul Schultz, 2004. "Evidence of Returns to Schooling in Africa from Household Surveys: Monitoring and Restructuring the Market for Education," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 13(02), pages ii95-ii148, December.
  4. 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.
  5. Andrabi, Tahir & Das, Jishnu & Khwaja, Asim Ijaz & Zajonc, Tristan, 2009. "Do value-added estimates add value ? accounting for learning dynamics," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5066, The World Bank.
  6. Jenny C. Aker & Christopher Ksoll & Travis J. Lybbert, 2012. "Can Mobile Phones Improve Learning? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Niger," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 94-120, October.
  7. Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2008. "The Role of Cognitive Skills in Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(3), pages 607-68, September.
  8. Jenny Aker and Isaac M. Mbiti, 2010. "Mobile Phones and Economic Development in Africa," Working Papers 211, Center for Global Development.
  9. 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.
  10. Eric A. Hanushek, . "Interpreting Recent Research on Schooling in Developing Countries," Wallis Working Papers WP3, University of Rochester - Wallis Institute of Political Economy.
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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Jenny C. Aker & Christopher Ksoll & Travis J. Lybbert, 2012. "Can Mobile Phones Improve Learning? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Niger," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 94-120, October.
  3. 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.

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