Enrollment in rural Afghanistan, as you might suspect, is fairly low. And, while the primary enrollment gap between boys and girls has closed in most parts of the world, it’s alive and well here (as well as in some parts of Africa). But an interesting paper by Dana Burde and Leigh Linden gives us hope. (Gated version here and earlier ungated version here)
Why aren't all early childhood interventions most effective at the same age? Should we be checking that our randomizations are balanced according to genes that influence behavior? Should we be gathering biological outcomes, in addition to economic ones, even when the intervention does not involve biology?
Early childhood interventions - usually working through either health or education – can have very long-lasting effects, some of which are even transmitted to the next generation. Two weekends ago, the Chicago Initiative for Economic Development and Early Childhood (CEDEC) held a conference to survey what is known in this area and provide a forum for sharing findings from recent projects.
In today's post, I highlight a few bits of the presentations that taught me something I didn't know, gave me a reference I wanted to hold on to, or put old findings in a new perspective.
Does improved human capital empower girls? An interesting paper by Willa Friedman, Michael Kremer, Ted Miguel, and Rebecca Thornton give us some insight into the answers.
To get children to attend school in developing countries, our approach has been primarily to assume that the schooling that is available is worth pursuing, meaning that the problem must be with some barrier to go to school despite a great desire to do so: perhaps the family cannot afford the costs of schooling; perhaps the schools are not good or too far; perhaps the children want to be in school but the parents prefer food today to educated daughter tomorrow; maybe people don’t know the value of schooling, etc.
Lant Pritchett once said to me “Thanks for the comments. As usual they are all very smart and well-informed and I disagree with most.” I feel similarly regarding his very popular piece posted here last week (already one of the top 10 most popular posts in our blog's short history) on how CCTs are forcing children in developing countries into terrible schools. So, here goes a reply…
In the early 20th century Helen Todd, a factory inspector in Chicago, interviewed 500 children working in factories, often in dangerous and unpleasant conditions. She asked children the question: “If your father had a good job and you didn’t have to work, which would you rather do—go to school or work in a factory?” 412 said they would choose factory work. One fourteen year old girl, who was interviewed lacquering canes in an attic working with both intense heat and the constant smell of turpentine, said “School is the fiercest thing you can come up against. F
In the past year we have seen students in countries around the world protesting about the cost of higher education and lack of financial aid: Chilean students have been protesting for 7 months to change the overall educational financing system; Californians have occupied the UC Berkeley campus to protest fee hikes, and thousands of English students last year have taken part in protests against increases in tuition fees. Why is this happening all over the world?
We want to increase (girls) education… but what’s the best way to do this?
Yesterday, in Part I of this post, we argued the extant empirical evidence suggests that the conditions cause a substantial amount of the desired behavior change intended by CCT programs. In other words: the “substitution effect” due to the condition may well be larger than the “income effect” of the transfers. For example, in the case of the Malawi experiment, the income effect was responsible for less than half of the total impact on school enrollment.