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Improving Learning Outcomes through Information Provision: Evidence from Indian Villages

Listed author(s):
  • Afridi, Farzana

    ()

    (Indian Statistical Institute)

  • Barooah, Bidisha

    ()

    (International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie))

  • Somanathan, Rohini

    ()

    (Delhi School of Economics)

We study whether information provision improves the academic performance of primary school children in a setting where parents have incomplete information about their child's cognitive skills and there exist competing public and private providers of education. Contiguous village councils in the north Indian state of Rajasthan were randomly assigned to either a control or one of four treatment groups in which schools and/or parents were provided information through report cards on either intra or both intra and inter school performance of students in curriculum based tests. We find significant improvement in test scores of private school students by 0.31 standard deviations when information on both absolute and relative school quality is provided to households and schools. There are no significant improvements in the learning outcomes of public school children in any treatment. Close examination of the results suggest that private school students chose better quality schools in the new academic year. Public school parents did respond by exercising school choice and lowering student absenteeism but saw no improvements in learning outcomes possibly because of constrained school choice set. Overall, our results suggest that information on the relative quality of schools can be a cheap and effective tool for improving learning outcomes when households can exercise school choice.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 10971.

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Length: 55 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2017
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10971
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  1. Tahir Andrabi & Jishnu Das & Asim Ijaz Khwaja & Tristan Zajonc, 2011. "Do Value-Added Estimates Add Value? Accounting for Learning Dynamics," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 29-54, July.
  2. A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach & Douglas L. Miller, 2008. "Bootstrap-Based Improvements for Inference with Clustered Errors," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 414-427, August.
  3. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Rukmini Banerji & Esther Duflo & Rachel Glennerster & Stuti Khemani, 2010. "Pitfalls of Participatory Programs: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation in Education in India," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 1-30, February.
  4. Jishnu Das & Stefan Dercon & James Habyarimana & Pramila Krishnan & Karthik Muralidharan & Venkatesh Sundararaman, 2013. "School Inputs, Household Substitution, and Test Scores," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 29-57, April.
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