Examining the reliability of self-reported data on school participation
Many studies evaluate the impacts of Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programs on schooling using self-reports on enrollment and attendance even though there are reasons to doubt the reliability of these data. In this paper, we examine the extent to which school-age girls overstate their school participation. Using administrative data from a cash transfer experiment in Malawi and school attendance ledgers collected as part of the impact evaluation, we find that while all study participants overstate their enrollment and attendance rates, the extent to which this happens is significantly higher in the control group than the CCT arm. This finding implies that exclusive reliance on self-reported school participation data can lead to a serious underestimation of actual program impacts. We recommend that self-reports be supplemented using alternative sources of data on school participation that are appropriate to the experiment at hand — even if such efforts are likely to increase evaluation costs.
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- FranÁois Bourguignon & Francisco H. G. Ferreira & Phillippe G. Leite, 2003. "Conditional Cash Transfers, Schooling, and Child Labor: Micro-Simulating Brazil's Bolsa Escola Program," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 17(2), pages 229-254, December.
- Felipe Barrera-Osorio & Marianne Bertrand & Leigh L. Linden & Francisco Perez-Calle, 2011. "Improving the Design of Conditional Transfer Programs: Evidence from a Randomized Education Experiment in Colombia," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 167-195, April.
- Behrman, Jere R & Sengupta, Piyali & Todd, Petra, 2005. "Progressing through PROGRESA: An Impact Assessment of a School Subsidy Experiment in Rural Mexico," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(1), pages 237-275, October.
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"School subsidies for the poor: evaluating the Mexican Progresa poverty program,"
Journal of Development Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 199-250, June.
- T. Paul Schultz, 2001. "School Subsidies for the Poor: Evaluating the Mexican Progresa Poverty Program," Working Papers 834, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
- Edward Miguel & Michael Kremer, 2004. "Worms: Identifying Impacts on Education and Health in the Presence of Treatment Externalities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(1), pages 159-217, 01.
- Alain de Janvry & Elisabeth Sadoulet, 2006. "Making Conditional Cash Transfer Programs More Efficient: Designing for Maximum Effect of the Conditionality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 20(1), pages 1-29.
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