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

  • Wong, Ho Lun
  • Luo, Renfu
  • Zhang, Linxiu
  • Rozelle, Scott
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    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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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272775713000472
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    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
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/econedurev

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    1. James Heckman, 2000. "Policies to Foster Human Capital," Working Papers 0028, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
    2. Samuel Berlinski & Sebastian Galiani & Paul Gertler, 2006. "The Effect of Pre-Primary Education on Primary School Performance," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp838, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
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    5. 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.
    6. Timothy J. Bartik & William Gormley & Shirley Adelstein, 2011. "Earnings Benefits of Tulsa's Pre-K Program for Different Income Groups," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 11-176, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. Janet Currie, 2001. "Early Childhood Education Programs," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 213-238, Spring.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
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