Evaluating financial incentives for girls' education : evidence from a natural experiment in Tamil Nadu, India
Kelly, Diana Michelle.
Thesis (M.P.P.)--Georgetown University, 2009.; Includes bibliographical references. This paper examines the effectiveness of conditioned transfers for education (CTEs) as a policy lever to improve educational outcomes for girls in traditionally marginalized social groups in India. The program evaluation literature on CTE programs in South Asia and Latin America indicates that these programs have significant, positive impacts on education. In this analysis, the implementation of a financial incentive program in Tamil Nadu in 1994 provides a natural experiment in which exposure to the schooling incentive varied across space and time. This allows careful comparison of education outcomes for treated girls to otherwise substantially identical untreated girls. Analysis of the 2005 Indian Human Development Survey shows an increase in grade completion in the treated population at the time of the advent of the program that is difficult to attribute to any factor but the program itself. Payment of 1000 rupees caused at least a 15 percentage-point increase in the propensity of scheduled caste/scheduled tribe girls to complete grade six. These results demonstrate that financial incentives can be effective at motivating greater school completion among marginalized social groups.
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