with Feng Hu
(shortened from the previous title of "Role Models, Girls' Math Ability, and the Formation of Beliefs: Evidence from Random Assignment of Students in Chinese Middle Schools")
In the process of human capital formation, stereotypes can erroneously reduce children's beliefs about their own ability, and this can negatively affect effort in school, investment in skills, and later life outcomes. In this paper, we show evidence that role models, in the form of female math teachers, can counter the negative effects of gender-based stereotypes on girls' perceptions of their math ability. We study Chinese middle schools, a setting where there is both random assignment of students to classes and widespread negative stereotypes about girls' ability in math. We find that, for girls who perceive themselves to be of low ability, being assigned a female math teacher causes large gains in perceived ability, aspirations, investment, and performance. We see no effect of teacher-student gender match for children who do not perceive themselves to be of low math ability, and no effects on perceived ability of assigning female teachers to girls who perceive themselves to be of low ability in academic subjects (Chinese and English) where there are no negative stereotypes towards girls. We show evidence against the possibility that either female teachers' effort, skill, teaching methods, or differential attention to girls drives these effects.
with Feng Hu
(note: this paper was previously circulated under the title "The Importance of Educational Credentials: Schooling Decisions and Returns in Modern China")
Every government chooses the length of educational credentials. We study a policy change in China which increased the length of primary school by one year but did not change the primary school curriculum. This change increased total years of schooling by one for most affected individuals and raised monthly income on average by two percent. The policy is progressive, bringing higher income returns (5-7%) for the least educated. We estimate the policy has reallocated 900 billion person-hours from labor to education to date and generate cost-benefit estimates to quantify this tradeoff, highlighting the public finance implications of credential length policy.
Work in progress
Private School Entry and Girls’ Schooling Outcomes in Rural India
with Andrew Foster
Private primary and secondary schools are an increasingly central part of many education systems in the developing world, particularly in South Asia. A prominent criticism of this development is that the cost of private school induces poor families to pull some children out of school in order to afford fees for the others, and that girl children are the most likely to suffer as a result. We test this hypothesis using panel data from a representative sample of Indian villages spanning 1970 to 2015. We find that boys benefit disproportionately from private schools: in villages where private schools establish, the average schooling of boys increases by approximately one year while girls’ schooling stays constant. We find no evidence, however, for the claim that girls’ schooling decreases after private school entry. In addition, we find that average years of completed schooling increases by 0.8 years for girls whose older brothers are exposed to private schooling, and that this effect increases the closer in the family’s birth order the first exposed brother is to the girl. This result is consistent with a model in which families learn about school quality and allocate more resources to the production of learning (i.e. hours of their children's time) when the quality of complementary inputs increases.
The Causal Impact of Hours Worked Per Week on Personal Health: Evidence from a Large Chinese Policy Experiment
with Feng Hu
Under review / forthcoming
with Peter Boone and Diana Elbourne
Centre for Economic Performance Discussion Paper No. 1240, September 2013, accepted for publication at the World Bank Economic Review
NOTE: previously circulated as “Risk and Evidence of Bias in Randomized Controlled Trials in Economics”
Community Health Promotion And Medical Provision: Impact On Neonates – the CHAMPION Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial in Andhra Pradesh, India
with Peter Boone, Vera Mann, Rohini Mukherjee, Chitra Jayanty, Chris Frost, M Reddy Padmanabh, Rashmi Lakshminarayana and Diana Elbourne.
Accepted for publication at PLoS Medicine, draft embargoed prior to journal publication
Remedial After-school Support Classes Offered in Rural Gambia (The SCORE Trial): Study Protocol for a Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial
with Peter Boone, Alpha Camara, Diana Elbourne, Chris Frost, Samory Fernandes, Chitra Jayanty, Maitri Lenin, and Ana Filipa Silva
Trials 2015, 16:574
in India’s Human Security: Lost Debates, Forgotten People, Intractable Challenges, Jason Miklian and Ashild Kolas, Editors, Routledge, New York. 2013
The Support to Rural India’s Public Education System (STRIPES) trial: A Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial of Supplementary Teaching, Learning Material and Material Support
with Rashmi Lakshminarayana, Preetha Bhakta, Chris Frost, Peter Boone, Diana Elbourne, and Vera Mann.
PLoS ONE 2013, 8(7): e65775
A Comparative Study to Assess the Lasting Impact of a Long-running Community-based Primary Health Care Programme on Under-5 Mortality in Jamkhed, India
with Peter Boone, Vera Mann, Chris Frost, and Ramaswamy Premkumar
Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2010, 88:727–73
Coverage: New York Times
with Vera Mann, Preetha Bhakta, Rashmi Lakshminarayana, Chris Frost, Diana Elbourne and Peter Boone
Trials 2010, 11:10
with Peter Boone, Vera Mann, Tarana Mendiratta, Rohini Mukherjee, Ryan Figueiredo, Chitra Jayanty, Chris Frost, M Reddy Padmanabh and Diana Elbourne
BMC Pediatrics, 2007 7:26