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The impact of vouchers on preschool attendance and elementary school readiness: A randomized controlled trial in rural China

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  • Wong, Ho Lun
  • Luo, Renfu
  • Zhang, Linxiu
  • Rozelle, Scott
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    Abstract

    Although preschool has been shown to improve children's school readiness in many developing countries, preschool attendance in poor rural areas of China is still low. The high cost of preschool is often regarded as a major barrier to attendance. In this paper, we evaluate the impact of a one-year voucher/CCT intervention on preschool attendance and school readiness. To do so, we conducted a randomized controlled trial among 150 young children in a poor, rural county in China. Our analysis shows that the intervention, consisting of a tuition waiver and a cash transfer conditional on attendance, raised attendance by 20 percentage points (or by 35%). However, the intervention did not have measurable impact on children's school readiness. We believe that poor quality of preschool education in rural China (in terms of both teaching and facilities) contributes to our findings.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics of Education Review.

    Volume (Year): 35 (2013)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 53-65

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:35:y:2013:i:c:p:53-65

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/econedurev

    Related research

    Keywords: Preschool attendance; School readiness; Voucher and conditional cash transfer; Randomized controlled trials; Educational performance; Rural China;

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    1. Timothy J. Barik & William Gormley & Shirley Adelstein, . "Earnings benefits of Tulsa's pre-K program for different income groups," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles tjb2012eer, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    2. Currie, J. & Thomas, D., 1995. "Does Head Start make a Difference?," Papers 95-10, RAND - Reprint Series.
    3. Garces, E. & Thomas, D. & Currie, J., 2000. "Longer Term Effects of Head Start," Papers 00-20, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
    4. James Heckman, 2000. "Policies to Foster Human Capital," Working Papers 0028, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
    5. Barnett, W.S. & Masse, Leonard N., 2007. "Comparative benefit-cost analysis of the Abecedarian program and its policy implications," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 113-125, February.
    6. Nores, Milagros & Barnett, W. Steven, 2010. "Benefits of early childhood interventions across the world: (Under) Investing in the very young," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 271-282, April.
    7. Samuel Berlinski & Sebastian Galiani & Paul Gertler, 2006. "The effect of pre-primary education on primary school performance," IFS Working Papers W06/04, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    8. Hazarika, Gautam & Viren, Vejoya, 2013. "The effect of early childhood developmental program attendance on future school enrollment in rural North India," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 146-161.
    9. Temple, Judy A. & Reynolds, Arthur J., 2007. "Benefits and costs of investments in preschool education: Evidence from the Child-Parent Centers and related programs," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 126-144, February.
    10. repec:idb:brikps:publication-detail,7101.html?id=9402 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Janet Currie, 2001. "Early Childhood Education Programs," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 213-238, Spring.
    12. Janet Currie & Matthew Neidell, 2003. "Getting Inside the "Black Box" of Head Start Quality: What Matters and What Doesn't?," NBER Working Papers 10091, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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