Making the Grade: The Sensitivity of Education Program Effectiveness to Input Choices and Outcome Measures
55 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2017 Last revised: 7 Feb 2018
Date Written: January 30, 2018
This paper demonstrates the acute sensitivity of education program effectiveness to input choices and outcome measures, using a randomized evaluation. The program we study raises reading scores by 0.64SD and writing scores by 0.45SD. A reduced-cost version instead yields statistically-insignificant reading gains and large negative effects (-0.3SD) on writing. Detailed classroom observations provide evidence on the mechanisms driving the results, but mediation analyses show that observed teacher and student behaviors explain less than five percent of the differences in impacts. Machine-learning results suggest important nonlinearities and complementarities across inputs and skills in the education production function.
Keywords: Economics of Education, Cost-Effectiveness, Development Economics
JEL Classification: I21, I25, O12, O15
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation