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Can Model Public Schools in India Expand Access to a High-Quality Education?

posted on 01.08.2020, 00:00 by Naveen Kumar Gopal Reddy
Chapter 1: Public School Quality and Student Outcomes: Evidence from Model Public Schools in India Abstract: I exploit a natural experiment in education policy in India to examine the effects of creating high-quality public schools. The “model” schools program established schools that have superior infrastructure, high accountability, English as the medium of instruction, and contract teachers. The model schools admit students into sixth-grade through an entrance exam. I estimate the effect of model schools on educational outcomes using a fuzzy Regression Discontinuity Design based upon the entrance exam cutoffs. I find that attending a model school has large positive effects on math, science, social science test scores, and a positive effect on the probability of joining pre-university. Lastly, turning to the costs, the per-pupil annual expenditure in model schools is comparable to that of the traditional public schools. Chapter 2: Do Effects of Model Public Schools Differ by Prior Learning Levels and Gender? Abstract: I use the within year and within school variation in the 1,300 school-by-category cutoffs from 3 cohorts of model schools to determine the effects of attending a model school based on prior learning levels and relative position within class respectively. I estimate multiple local average treatment effects and find that model schools have a similar positive effect across the ability (as measured by entrance exam score) distribution. I explore heterogeneity in effects by gender and the results suggest that model schools work for girls as well as boys. Chapter 3: School Type, Career Aspirations and Information Gaps: Descriptive Evidence from Different Public School Systems in India Abstract: In India, the interaction of attending a public school and low socio- economic status is correlated with low career aspirations (Arulmani, Van Laar, and Easton, 2003) and narrow occupational categories (Munshi and Rosenzweig, 2006; Krishna, 2017.) Using survey data from 2,842 students at 49 schools, I compare the career aspirations of students across four different systems of public schools that vary in quality. The findings are not casual as students can sort to schools. The objective of this paper is to identify and document the differences in career aspirations and information gaps to aid future research. I find that attending a system of higher quality public schools is associated with an increase in the likelihood of having a socially desirable career aspiration such as doctor or engineer. Although 45 percent of the sample aspire to be a doctor or engineer, I find that students across all four systems of schools lack knowledge on the college admission determinants to pursue medicine or engineering.




Rivkin, Steven


Rivkin, Steven



Degree Grantor

University of Illinois at Chicago

Degree Level


Degree name

PhD, Doctor of Philosophy

Committee Member

Feigenberg, Benjamin Ost, Ben Qureshi, Javaeria Singh, Abhijeet

Submitted date

August 2020

Thesis type