Working Papers

Intergenerational Health Effects of Adult Learning Programs: Evidence from India

I estimate the impact of a large-scale adult learning program on child health. Beginning in 2009, the government of India phased in an education campaign targeting rural women in districts with an adult female literacy rate of 50 percent or below. I exploit the exogenous variation created by the program implementation in a regression discontinuity framework using a nationally representative household survey. I find that children whose mothers are eligible for the program are less malnourished, with improved health outcomes measured by height-for-age and weight-for-age z-scores. The results are likely driven by increased diversity in children’s diets and higher labor force participation of mothers. I do not find evidence for changes in fertility behavior and utilization of healthcare services. The results translate to a large social gain induced by favorable child health outcomes, suggesting additional scope for well-designed adult learning programs in developing countries to raise overall welfare.

Teacher Value-Added Spillovers: How Far They Transcend?

Good teachers affect both the short- and long-term achievements of their students. Apart from influencing their own students, teachers may also have broader impacts by increasing the performance of future peers of their students. I quantify teacher effects on such spillovers. The identification comes from the natural transitions of students from multiple elementary schools into a single middle school. I find that the positive impact of teachers on their students spills over to affect their students’ future peers with improved cognitive and non-cognitive outcomes in middle school and long-run outcomes in high school. Such unaccounted spillovers underestimate the actual effectiveness of a teacher.

Does Signaling College Quality Matter? An Experimental Study in India (with Sarojini Hirshleifer and Deepshikha Batheja)

Funded by: J-PAL Post-Primary Education Fund

We measure the impact of two main signals of tertiary-level human capital accumulation, college quality, and certification, on the first stage of the hiring process in India. We send 18,000 resumes to 1500 job postings for recent engineering graduates across eight major cities. We find no impact on callbacks of having graduated from a mid-tier college ranked in the top 300 relative to one outside of the top 1000. There is also no impact of scoring in the highest as opposed to the lowest quartile of a widely-used certification test. We do not find evidence of gender discrimination or heterogeneity by company characteristics.