The Aggregate Effect of School Choice: Evidence from a two-stage experiment in India

Muralidharan, Karthik; Sundararaman, VenkateshAzim Premji FoundationWorld BankGovernment of Andhra Pradesh2013

The results of the Andhra Pradesh School Choice Project make a significant contribution to the ongoing debate on low-cost private schools, especially in light of India's controversial Right to Education Act. In partnership with the Government of Andhra Pradesh, the Azim Premji Foundation, and the World Bank, the project employed a large, two-stage randomized design to evaluate a voucher program at both the village and individual level over four years. The paper's main results find that, in general, these private schools achieve only slightly better scores than public schools, but operate at a fraction of the cost per student. Additionally, these private schools spend significantly less time than public schools teaching math and the local language, opting to focus more in other areas, yet both students who received and were denied the voucher performed comparably in these subjects. The study found no significant spillover effect for students in public schools who did not apply for the voucher or students already enrolled in private schools at the time vouchers were distributed.

Low-Cost Private SchoolsEducation FinancingIndiaOriginal researchDebate in global educationCase study

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