Can Information and Counseling Help Students from Poor Rural Areas Go to High School? Evidence from China

14 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2013

See all articles by Prashant Kumar Loyalka

Prashant Kumar Loyalka

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies

Chengfang Liu

Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)

Yingquan Song

Peking University

Hongmei Yi

School of Advanced Agricultural Sciences, Peking University

Xiaoting Huang

Peking University

Jianguo Wei

Peking University

Linxiu Zhang

Chinese Academy of Sciences - Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy

Yaojiang Shi

Shaanxi Normal University

James Chu

Stanford University, Department of Sociology, Students; Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies

Scott Rozelle

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute of International Studies

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 2013

Abstract

Recent studies have shown that only about two-thirds of the students from poor, rural areas in China finish junior high school and enter high school. One factor that may be behind the low rates of high school attendance is that students may be misinformed about the returns to schooling or lack career planning skills. We therefore conduct a cluster-randomized controlled trial (RCT) using a sample of 131 junior high schools and more than 12,000 students to test the effects of providing information on returns or career planning skills on student dropout, academic achievement and plans to go to high school. Contrary to previous studies, we find that information does not have significant effects on student outcomes. Unlike information, counseling does have an effect. However, the effect is somewhat surprising. Our findings suggest that counseling increases dropouts and seems to lower academic achievement. In our analysis of the causal chain, we conclude that financial constraints and the poor quality of education in junior high schools in poor, rural areas (the venue of the study) may be contributing to the absence of positive impacts on student outcomes from information and counseling. The negative effects of counseling on dropout may also be due to the high and growing wages for unskilled labor (high opportunity costs) in China’s transitioning economy. It is possible that when our counseling curriculum informed the students about the reality of how difficult were the requirements for entering academic high school, it may have induced them to revise their benefit-cost calculations and come to the realization that they are better off dropping out and/or working less hard in school.

Keywords: Junior high school students; Randomized controlled trial; Information; Counseling; Dropout

JEL Classification: I20, 015

Suggested Citation

Loyalka, Prashant and Liu, Chengfang and Song, Yingquan and Yi, Hongmei and Huang, Xiaoting and Wei, Jianguo and Zhang, Linxiu and Shi, Yaojiang and Chu, James and Rozelle, Scott, Can Information and Counseling Help Students from Poor Rural Areas Go to High School? Evidence from China (November 2013). Journal of Comparative Economics, Vol. 41, No. 4, 2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2353550

Prashant Loyalka (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Chengfang Liu

Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) ( email )

52 Sanlihe Rd.
Datun Road, Anwai
Beijing, Xicheng District 100864
China

Yingquan Song

Peking University ( email )

No. 38 Xueyuan Road
Haidian District
Beijing, Beijing 100871
China

Hongmei Yi

School of Advanced Agricultural Sciences, Peking University ( email )

Room 412, Wangkezhen Buidling, Peking Unviersity
Beijing, 100871
China

Xiaoting Huang

Peking University ( email )

No. 38 Xueyuan Road
Haidian District
Beijing, Beijing 100871
China

Jianguo Wei

Peking University ( email )

No. 38 Xueyuan Road
Haidian District
Beijing, Beijing 100871
China

Linxiu Zhang

Chinese Academy of Sciences - Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy ( email )

Anwai, Beijing, 100101
China

Yaojiang Shi

Shaanxi Normal University ( email )

Chang'an Chang'an District
199 South Road
Xi'an, Shaanxi Province 710062
China

James Chu

Stanford University, Department of Sociology, Students ( email )

Stanford
United States

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Scott Rozelle

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute of International Studies ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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