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

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

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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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. 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.
  2. Tahir Andrabi & Jishnu Das & Asim Ijaz Khwaja & Tristan Zajonc, 2011. "Do Value-Added Estimates Add Value? Accounting for Learning Dynamics," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 29-54, July.
  3. Paul Glewwe & Michael Kremer & Sylvie Moulin & Eric Zitzewitz, 2000. "Retrospective vs. Prospective Analyses of School Inputs: The Case of Flip Charts in Kenya," NBER Working Papers 8018, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Niels-Hugo Blunch & Claus C Pörtner, 2005. "Literacy, Skills and Welfare: Effects of Participation in Adult Literacy Programs," Working Papers UWEC-2005-23-FC, University of Washington, Department of Economics, revised Aug 2009.
  5. repec:oup:qjecon:v:122:y:2007:i:3:p:1235-1264 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. 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.
  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. 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.
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