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The Effects of School Libraries on Language Skills: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial in India

Author

Listed:
  • Borkum, Evan

    (Mathematica Policy Research)

  • He, Fang

    (US Government Accountability Office)

  • Linden, Leigh L.

    (University of Texas at Austin)

Abstract

We conduct a randomized controlled trial of an Indian school library program. Overall, the program had no impact on students' scores on a language skills test administered after 16 months. The estimates are sufficiently precise to rule out effects larger than 0.053 and 0.037 standard deviations, based on the 95 and 90 percent confidence intervals. This finding is robust across individual competencies and subsets of the sample. The method of treatment, however, does seem to matter – physical libraries have no effect, while visiting librarians actually reduce test scores. We find no impact on test scores in other subjects or attendance rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Borkum, Evan & He, Fang & Linden, Leigh L., 2013. "The Effects of School Libraries on Language Skills: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial in India," IZA Discussion Papers 7267, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7267
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Machin, Stephen & McNally, Sandra, 2008. "The literacy hour," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1441-1462, June.
    2. Rouse, Cecilia Elena & Krueger, Alan B., 2004. "Putting computerized instruction to the test: a randomized evaluation of a "scientifically based" reading program," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 323-338, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Athira Vinod, 2024. "Affirmative action and private education expenditure by disadvantaged groups: Evidence from India," Discussion Papers 2024-02, University of Nottingham, CREDIT.
    2. Paul Rodríguez-Lesmes & José D. Trujillo & Daniel Valderrama, 2015. "Are Public Libraries Improving Quality of Education? When the Provision of Public Goods is not Enough," Revista Desarrollo y Sociedad, Universidad de los Andes,Facultad de Economía, CEDE, December.
    3. Heath, Rachel & Mushfiq Mobarak, A., 2015. "Manufacturing growth and the lives of Bangladeshi women," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 1-15.
    4. Derksen, Laura & Leclerc, Catherine Michaud & Souza, Pedro CL, 2019. "Searching for Answers: The Impact of Student Access to Wikipedia," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 450, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    5. Ama Baafra Abeberese, 2011. "Improving Reading Skills by Encouraging Children to Read: A Randomized Evaluation of the Sa Aklat Sisikat Reading Program in the Philippines," Working Papers id:4312, eSocialSciences.
    6. Derksen, Laura & Michaud-Leclerc, Catherine & Souza, Pedro C.L., 2022. "Restricted access: How the internet can be used to promote reading and learning," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 155(C).
    7. Derksen, Laura & Leclerc, Catherine Michaud & Souza, Pedro CL, 2019. "Searching for Answers : The Impact of Student Access to Wikipedia," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1236, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    8. Rajesh Raj, S.N. & Sen, Kunal & Annigeri, Vinod B. & Kulkarni, Arun K. & Revankar, D.R., 2015. "Joyful learning? The effects of a school intervention on learning outcomes in Karnataka," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 183-195.
    9. Dahal,Mahesh & Nguyen,Quynh T., 2014. "Private non-state sector engagement in the provision of educational services at the primary and secondary levels in South Asia : an analytical review of its role in school enrollment and student achie," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6899, The World Bank.
    10. Rosangela Bando & Francisco Gallego & Paul Gertler & Dario Romero, 2016. "Books or Laptops? The Cost-Effectiveness of Shifting from Printed to Digital Delivery of Educational Content," NBER Working Papers 22928, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Masino, Serena & Niño-Zarazúa, Miguel, 2016. "What works to improve the quality of student learning in developing countries?," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 53-65.
    12. Delavallade, Clara & Griffith, Alan & Shukla, Gaurav & Thornton, Rebecca, 2017. "Participation, learning, and equity in education: Can we have it all?," IFPRI discussion papers 1627, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    13. Harounan Kazianga & Leigh Linden & Ali Protik & Matt Sloan, 2015. "Impact Evaluation of Burkina Faso's BRIGHT Program: Design Report," Mathematica Policy Research Reports c0250cd3f27d448ea70d909c3, Mathematica Policy Research.
    14. Aggarwal, Shilpa, 2018. "Do rural roads create pathways out of poverty? Evidence from India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 133(C), pages 375-395.
    15. David K Evans & Fei Yuan, 2022. "What We Learn about Girls’ Education from Interventions That Do Not Focus on Girls," The World Bank Economic Review, World Bank, vol. 36(1), pages 244-267.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    library; randomized controlled trial; education; development;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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