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ABC, 123: Can you text me now? The Impact of a Mobile Phone Literacy Program on Educational Outcomes


  • Jenny C Aker
  • Christohper Ksoll
  • Travis J. Lybbert


We report the short-term results from a randomized evaluation of a mobile phone literacy and numeracy program (Project ABC) in Niger, in which adult literacy students learned how to use mobile phones as part of a literacy and numeracy class. Students in ABC villages showed substantial gains in numeracy exam scores. There is also evidence of heterogeneity in program effects across regions, suggesting the impact is context dependent. These results were stronger in one region, for women and for participants younger than 45. There was also evidence of persistent impacts: six months after the end of the first year of classes, students in ABC villages retained what they had learned better than the non-ABC students. These effects do not appear to be driven by differences in teacher quality and motivation, nor student attendance.

Suggested Citation

  • Jenny C Aker & Christohper Ksoll & Travis J. Lybbert, 2010. "ABC, 123: Can you text me now? The Impact of a Mobile Phone Literacy Program on Educational Outcomes," CSAE Working Paper Series 2010-22, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  • Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2010-22

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    1. Fisher-Vanden, Karen & Jefferson, Gary H. & Liu, Hongmei & Tao, Quan, 2004. "What is driving China's decline in energy intensity?," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 77-97, March.
    2. Dechezleprêtre, Antoine & Glachant, Matthieu & Ménière, Yann, 2008. "The Clean Development Mechanism and the international diffusion of technologies: An empirical study," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 1273-1283, April.
    3. Matthieu Glachant & Antoine Dechezleprêtre & Ivan Hascic & Nick Johnstone & Yann Ménière, 2009. "Invention and Transfer of Climate Change Mitigation Technologies on a Global Scale: A Study Drawing on Patent Data," Working Papers 2009.82, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    4. Antoine Dechezleprêtre & Matthieu Glachant & Ivan Haščič & Nick Johnstone & Yann Ménière, 2011. "Invention and Transfer of Climate Change--Mitigation Technologies: A Global Analysis," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 5(1), pages 109-130, Winter.
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    More about this item


    Education; literacy; information technology; program evaluation; Nigeria;

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights

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