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

Author

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

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Wong, Ho Lun & Luo, Renfu & Zhang, Linxiu & Rozelle, Scott, 2013. "The impact of vouchers on preschool attendance and elementary school readiness: A randomized controlled trial in rural China," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 53-65.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:35:y:2013:i:c:p:53-65
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2013.03.004
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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.
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    10. Currie, Janet & Neidell, Matthew, 2007. "Getting inside the "Black Box" of Head Start quality: What matters and what doesn't," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 83-99, February.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Hu, Bi Ying & Fan, Xitao & Wu, Zhongling & LoCasale-Crouch, Jennifer & Yang, Ning & Zhang, Juan, 2017. "Teacher-child interactions and children's cognitive and social skills in Chinese preschool classrooms," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 78-86.
    2. Hua Zhou & Di Mo & Renfu Luo & Ai Yue & Scott Rozelle, 2016. "Are Children with Siblings Really More Vulnerable Than Only Children in Health, Cognition and Non-cognitive Outcomes? Evidence from a Multi-province Dataset in China," China & World Economy, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 24(3), pages 3-17, May.
    3. Shiying Zhang, 2017. "Effects of attending preschool on adolescents’ outcomes: evidence from China," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(27), pages 2618-2629, June.
    4. Pr Henri Atangana Ondoa, 2018. "The effects of heavily indebted poor countries initiative (HIPC) on millennium development goals (MDGs) for education," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 76(4), pages 453-479, October.
    5. Paulo Bastos & Nicolas L. Bottan & Julian Cristia, 2017. "Access to Preprimary Education and Progression in Primary School: Evidence from Rural Guatemala," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65(3), pages 521-547.

    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

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