Roads, anemia and early childhood education : evaluating the program impacts in rural China
- The overall objective of this dissertation is to evaluate the impacts of three development programs in rural China. Specifically, I examine the impacts of investment into: a.) village infrastructure; b.) children health; and c.) children education in China's rural villages. To better understand how such investments can best be made, I proceed by writing three papers. In the first paper I seek to answer the question of how to build high quality and cost effective infrastructure in China's rural villages. I attempt to address a fundamental question of infrastructure investment—who is better at infrastructure investment. Should the village leadership or a government agency above the village finance and/or manage infrastructure projects? To answer this question, I take advantage of China's ambitious rural road building agenda in the recent years. My collaborators surveyed all road projects in 101 villages in rural China from 2003 to 2007. In the survey the quality and cost per kilometer of each road was measured. According to the analysis, road quality was higher when more of the project finance came from the government agency. Moreover, projects had lower costs per kilometer when the village leadership participated in the project's management. Overall, my findings suggest that to build high quality and cost effective roads, government agencies should finance/design road projects and the village leadership should participate in project management. In the second paper I report on the results of a randomized controlled trial that was conducted among over 2,000 children in 60 elementary schools in rural Shaanxi Province, Northwest China. I examine the effects of two separate interventions—a parental education treatment and an iron supplementation treatment—on the anemia status and educational performance of children in elementary schools in rural China. I find that providing children with daily iron supplements for six months improved the hemoglobin (Hb) levels and math test scores of children. The effects of the supplement treatment were larger among children who lived and boarded at home relative to children who lived and boarded at schools. In comparison, educating parents about nutrition and anemia only improved the Hb levels of non-boarding children and only raised the test scores of non-boarding children who were also baseline-anemic. In the third paper, I attempt to understand why preschool attendance in poor rural areas of China is low when preschool has been shown (internationally) to improve children's school readiness in many developing countries. To examine this question, I evaluate the impact of a voucher/conditional cash transfer (CCT) program, which is one possible policy intervention that the Chinese government is considering to increase attendance. The goal of the intervention is to help parents defray the cost of preschool on preschool attendance and raise school readiness. To meet this goal, I helped to conduct a (individual-level) randomized controlled trial among 150 children in a poor, rural county in China. The analysis shows that a one-year voucher/CCT intervention, consisting of a tuition waiver and a cash transfer conditional on attendance, raised attendance by 20 percentage points (or by 35 percent). However, the intervention did not have measurable impact on the school readiness of students. Based on these findings, I propose that one potential explanation for these findings is the poor quality of preschool education in rural China.
|Type of resource
|electronic; electronic resource; remote
|1 online resource.
|Wong, Ho Lun
|Stanford University, Department of Economics
|Mahajan, Aprajit, 1973-
|Mahajan, Aprajit, 1973-
|Statement of responsibility
|Ho Lun Wong.
|Submitted to the Department of Economics.
|Thesis (Ph.D.)--Stanford University, 2012.
- © 2012 by Ho Lun Wong
- This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).
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