Afridi, Farzana & Barooah, Bidisha & Somanathan, Rohini. (2018). Improving learning outcomes through information provision: Experimental evidence from Indian villages. Journal of Development Economics. 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2018.08.002.
We study how information to parents and schools on the performance of primary school children can improve learning outcomes in an environment where public and private schools co-exist. Contiguous village councils in the Indian state of Rajasthan are randomly assigned to either a control or one of four treatment groups in which student report cards on curriculum-based tests are provided to schools, parents or both. We find no changes in academic performance in public schools. Student performance in private schools improves by one-third of a standard deviation when parents and schools can simultaneously place themselves in the distribution of scores in the community. There is no systematic change in performance for any treatment that involves only schools, or where households are not informed about the relative performance of all schools in the community. These results highlight the importance of common knowledge of relative school quality and provider incentives in improving learning.