Bikes for girls really good, laptops for kids “meh”: latest economic development research in AEJ-Applied

From American Economic Journal: Applied Economics Vol. 9 No. 3 July 2017

(11) Technology and Child Development: Evidence from the One Laptop per Child Program
Julian Cristia, Pablo Ibarrarán, Santiago Cueto, Ana Santiago and Eugenio Severín
This paper presents results from a large-scale randomized evaluation of the One Laptop per Child program, using data collected after 15 months of implementation in 318 primary schools in rural Peru. The program increased the ratio of computers per student from 0.12 to 1.18 in treatment schools. This expansion in access translated into substantial increases in use of computers both at school and at home. No evidence is found of effects on test scores in math and language. There is some evidence, though inconclusive, about positive effects on general cognitive skills.
Full-Text Access | Supplementary Materials

(12) Cycling to School: Increasing Secondary School Enrollment for Girls in India
Karthik Muralidharan and Nishith Prakash
We study the impact of an innovative program in the Indian state of Bihar that aimed to reduce the gender gap in secondary school enrollment by providing girls who continued to secondary school with a bicycle that would improve access to school. Using data from a large representative household survey, we employ a triple difference approach (using boys and the neighboring state of Jharkhand as comparison groups) and find that being in a cohort that was exposed to the Cycle program increased girls’ age-appropriate enrollment in secondary school by 32 percent and reduced the corresponding gender gap by 40 percent. We also find an 18 percent increase in the number of girls who appear for the high-stakes secondary school certificate exam, and a 12 percent increase in the number of girls who pass it. Parametric and non-parametric decompositions of the triple- difference estimate as a function of distance to the nearest secondary school show that the increases in enrollment mostly took place in villages that were further away from a secondary school, suggesting that the mechanism of impact was the reduction in the time and safety cost of school attendance made possible by the bicycle. We also find that the Cycle program was much more cost effective at increasing girls’ secondary school enrollment than comparable conditional cash transfer programs in South Asia.

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Economist at Santa Clara University and Director of Friends of African Village Libraries.
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