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The Effect of Village-Based Schools: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial in Afghanistan

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  • Dana Burde
  • Leigh L. Linden

Abstract

We conduct a randomized evaluation of the effect of village-based schools on children’s academic performance using a sample of 31 villages and 1,490 children in rural northwestern Afghanistan. The program significantly increases enrollment and test scores among all children, eliminates the 21 percentage point gender disparity in enrollment, and dramatically reduces the disparity in test scores. The intervention increases formal school enrollment by 42 percentage points among all children and increases test scores by 0.51 standard deviations (1.2 standard deviations for children that enroll in school). While all students benefit, the effects accrue disproportionately to girls. Evidence suggests that the village-based schools provide a comparable education to traditional schools. Estimating the effects of distance on academic outcomes, children prove very sensitive: enrollment and test scores fall by 16 percentage points and 0.19 standard deviations per mile. Distance affects girls more than boys—girls’ enrollment falls by 6 percentage points more per mile (19 percentage points total per mile) and their test scores fall by an additional 0.09 standard deviations (0.24 standard deviations total per mile).

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18039.

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Date of creation: May 2012
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Publication status: published as Burde, Dana and Leigh L. Linden. 2013. "Bringing Education to Afghan Girls: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Village-Based Schools," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics. 5(3): 27-40.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18039

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  8. Handa, Sudhanshu, 2002. "Raising primary school enrolment in developing countries: The relative importance of supply and demand," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 103-128, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Dickerson, Andy & McIntosh, Steven & Valente, Christine, 2013. "Do the Maths: An Analysis of the Gender Gap in Mathematics in Africa," IZA Discussion Papers 7174, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Tessa Bold & Mwangi Kimenyi & Germano Mwabu & Alice Ng'ang'a & Justin Sandefur, 2013. "Scaling-up What Works: Experimental Evidence on External Validity in Kenyan Education," CSAE Working Paper Series 2013-04, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  3. Andy Dickerson & Steven McIntosh & Christine Valente, . "Do The Maths: An Analysis Of The Gender Gap In Mathematics In AfricaAbstract: This paper uses microdata for 19 African countries to examine the gender difference in maths test scores amongst primary s," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 13/300, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  4. Jenny Aker, 2013. "Scaling Up What Works: Experimental Evidence on External Validity in Kenyan Education," Working Papers 321, Center for Global Development.
  5. Nazli, Hina & Haider, Syed Hamza & Hausladen, Stephanie & Sheik, Asjad Tariq & Shafiq, Hassan & Shahzad, Saqib & Mehmood, Amina & Shahzad, Asma & Whitney, Edward, 2012. "Pakistan Rural Household Panel Survey 2012 (Round 1): Household characteristics:," PSSP working papers 8, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

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