Working Papers

Information, Student-Parent Communication, and Secondary School Choice: Experimental Evidence from Kenya

Secondary school dropout rates remain high in low-income countries, and information gaps about school characteristics may be an important contributing factor. Lack of information about school choices may lead households to choose schools that are too expensive, not a good fit academically, or too costly to commute to, increasing the likelihood of the students dropping out. These information gaps may be further exacerbated when students and parents fail to communicate before making high stakes schooling decisions. I study the importance of these information and communication gaps in the transition from primary to secondary school by implementing a field experiment with 3,000 Kenyan students and their parents. The intervention consisted of an informational meeting for 8th graders before they apply to secondary school, and randomly varied whether the parents were present in that meeting. I find that informational meetings with students led them to apply to more commutable schools without compromising school quality. Moreover, including the parents in these meetings improved parental knowledge about costs and led to better alignment of school preferences between the students and their parents. This ultimately led students to enroll in lower cost schools, generating meaningful savings, particularly for low income households.

Promoting Child Reading in Kenya: Estimating the Demand for Storybooks

with Joan Hamory, Edward Miguel, and Michael Walker

Selected Research in Progress

How well are Remote Learning Tools Reaching Students in Kenya?

Effects of Promoting Parent-Child Reading in Kenya

with Joan Hamory, Edward Miguel, and Michael Walker

Challenges Faced by Children of Sex Workers

with Muhammad Zia Mehmood (pilot funding received)

Demand for Vocational Training Programs Among Rwandan Youth

with Aimable Nsabimana (pilot funding received)