Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Seminar

Remedying Education: Evidence from Two Randomized Experiments in India

Thursday, March 11, 2004 - 12:00pm to 2:00pm

Leigh Linden, a Ph.D. Candidate in Economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will present a paper, "Remedying Education: Evidence from Two Randomized Experiments in India." The paper is coauthored with Abhijit Banerjee, Shawn Cole and Esther Duflo.

ABSTRACT: This paper presents the results of a two-year randomized evaluation of a large scaleremedial education program, conducted in Mumbai and Vadodara, India. The remedial education program hires young women from the community to teach basic literacy and numeracy skills to children who reach standard three or four without having mastered these competencies. The program, implemented by a NGO in collaboration with the government, is extremely cheap (it cost 5 dollars per child per year), and is easily replicable: It has been implemented in 20 Indian cities, and reached tens of thousands of children. We find the program to be very effective: On average, it increased learning by 0.15 standard deviations in the first year, and 0.25 in the second year. The gains are the largest for children at the bottom of the distribution: Children in the bottom third gain 0.2 standard deviations in the first year, and 0.32 in the second year. In math, they gain 0.51 standard deviation in the second year. The results are similar in the two grade levels, and in the two cities. At the margin, extending this program would be up to 12-16 times more cost effective than hiring new teachers.