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The Impact of Eyeglasses on the Academic Performance of Primary School Students: Evidence from a Randomized Trial in Rural China

  • Glewwe, Paul
  • Park, Albert
  • Zhao, Meng

About 10% of primary school students in developing countries have poor vision, yet in virtually all of these countries very few children wear glasses. There has been almost no research on the impact of poor vision on school performance in developing countries, and simple OLS estimates are likely to be biased because students who study more often are likely to develop poor vision faster. This paper presents results from the first year of a randomized trial in Western China that began in the summer of 2004. The trial involves over 19,000 students in 165 schools in two counties of Gansu province. The schools were randomly divided (at the township level) into 103 schools that received eyeglasses (for students in grades 3-5) and 62 schools that served as controls. The results from the first year indicate that, after one year, provision of eyeglasses increased test scores by 0.15 to 0.30 standard deviations (of the distribution of the test scores).

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Paper provided by University of Minnesota, Center for International Food and Agricultural Policy in its series Conference Papers with number 6644.

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Date of creation: Aug 2006
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Handle: RePEc:ags:umcicp:6644
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  1. Miriam Bruhn & David McKenzie, 2009. "In Pursuit of Balance: Randomization in Practice in Development Field Experiments," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(4), pages 200-232, October.
  2. Barro, Robert J, 1991. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 407-43, May.
  3. Doug Miller & A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach, 2006. "Bootstrap-Based Improvements for Inference with Clustered Errors," Working Papers 621, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  4. Gomes-Neto, Joao Batista & Hanushek, Eric A. & Leite, Raimundo Helio & Frota-Bezzera, Roberto Claudio, 1997. "Health and schooling: Evidence and policy implications for developing countries," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 271-282, June.
  5. Mikael Lindahl & Alan B. Krueger, 2001. "Education for Growth: Why and for Whom?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1101-1136, December.
  6. World Bank, 2001. "China : Overcoming Rural Poverty," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 13902.
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