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Text Messaging and its Impacts on the Health and Education of the Poor: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Rural China

Author

Listed:
  • Mo, Di
  • Luo, Renfu
  • Liu, Chengfang
  • Zhang, Huiping
  • Zhang, Linxiu
  • Medina, Alexis
  • Rozelle, Scott

Abstract

There is little evidence showing whether health information transmitted via text messages can change health and educational outcomes. We conducted a randomized field experiment involving 900 primary students in rural China to study whether a health education campaign conducted via text message could affect caregiver knowledge or student outcomes. When caregivers received both weekly health messages and monthly quiz questions (testing retention of the information conveyed in the weekly messages), caregiver knowledge improved and students experienced gains in both health and academic performance. When caregivers received weekly health messages only, there was no impact on caregiver knowledge or student outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Mo, Di & Luo, Renfu & Liu, Chengfang & Zhang, Huiping & Zhang, Linxiu & Medina, Alexis & Rozelle, Scott, 2014. "Text Messaging and its Impacts on the Health and Education of the Poor: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Rural China," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 766-780.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:64:y:2014:i:c:p:766-780
    DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2014.07.015
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Roland G. Fryer, 2011. "Financial Incentives and Student Achievement: Evidence from Randomized Trials," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(4), pages 1755-1798.
    2. Duflo, Esther & Glennerster, Rachel & Kremer, Michael, 2008. "Using Randomization in Development Economics Research: A Toolkit," Handbook of Development Economics, in: T. Paul Schultz & John A. Strauss (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 61, pages 3895-3962, Elsevier.
    3. Renfu Luo & Yaojiang Shi & Linxiu Zhang & Huiping Zhang & Grant Miller & Alexis Medina & Scott Rozelle, 2012. "The Limits of Health and Nutrition Education: Evidence from Three Randomized-Controlled Trials in Rural China," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 58(2), pages 385-404, June.
    4. Guido W. Imbens & Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2009. "Recent Developments in the Econometrics of Program Evaluation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 5-86, March.
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    6. Du, Shufa & Mroz, Tom A. & Zhai, Fengying & Popkin, Barry M., 2004. "Rapid income growth adversely affects diet quality in China--particularly for the poor!," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 59(7), pages 1505-1515, October.
    7. Gustavo J. Bobonis & Edward Miguel & Charu Puri-Sharma, 2006. "Anemia and School Participation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(4).
    8. Sylvia, Sean & Luo, Renfu & Zhang, Linxiu & Shi, Yaojiang & Medina, Alexis & Rozelle, Scott, 2013. "Do you get what you pay for with school-based health programs? Evidence from a child nutrition experiment in rural China," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 1-12.
    9. Yaojiang Shi & Fang Chang & Xiaoqing Su & Renfu Luo & Linxiu Zhang & Scott Rozelle, 2012. "Parental training, anemia and the impact on the nutrition of female students in China's poor rural elementary schools," China Agricultural Economic Review, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 4(2), pages 151-167, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Chicoine, Luke & Guzman, Juan Carlos, 2017. "Increasing Rural Health Clinic Utilization with SMS Updates: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation in Uganda," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 419-430.
    2. Das, Saudamini, 2016. "Television is More Effective in Bringing Behavioral Change: Evidence from Heat-Wave Awareness Campaign in India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 107-121.

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