COVID-19 Learning Loss: A Global Disaster (News and Research 298)

Covid learning loss has been a global disaster | A paper published in May by analysts at the World Bank, Harvard and the Brookings Institution looks at 35 studies of learning loss from 20 mostly rich countries. It finds that the average loss across these studies was equivalent to what would usually be learned in one-third to one-half of a year of normal schooling.

Large-Scale Education Reform in General Equilibrium: Regression Discontinuity Evidence from India

How do you say your name? Difficult-to-pronounce names and labor market outcomes | This paper tests for the existence of labor market discrimination based on a previously unstudied characteristic: name fluency. Using data on over 1,500 economics job market candidates from roughly 100 PhD programs during the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 job market cycles, we find that having a name that takes longer to pronounce is associated with 1) a significantly lower likelihood of being placed into an academic job or obtaining a tenure track position; and 2) an initial placement at an institution with lower research productivity, as measured by the research rankings in the Research Papers in Economics (RePEc) database. We obtain similar results using two alternative ways of measuring pronunciation difficulty, a computer generated algorithm based on commonality of letter and phoneme combinations and a subjective measure based on individual ratings, and they hold after the inclusion of many control variables including fixed effects for PhD institution and home country.

Enhancing educators’ skills for quality preprimary education in Bangladesh | In order to successfully implement this vision of high-quality pre-primary education, teachers, school practitioners and leaders will need specialized training and support. Over the past decade, Bangladesh has experienced an upward shift in focus in early year education planning.  The Government is showing a strong commitment to early childhood education and positioning itself to continue to make this a priority for the country. As of 2021, around 1.57 million students were enrolled in preprimary education (PPE) in around 65,000 government primary schools.  The Government now intends to pilot an additional year of PPE for four-year-olds and then expand the program countrywide as envisioned in the National Education Policy 2010.

Adaptive Experiments for Policy Choice: Phone Calls for Home Reading in Kenya | Adaptive sampling in experiments with multiple waves can improve learning for “policy choice problems” where the goal is to select the optimal intervention or treatment among several options. This paper uses a real-world policy choice problem to demonstrate the advantages of adaptive sampling and propose solutions to common issues in applying the method. The application is a test of six formats for automated calls to parents in Kenya that encourage reading with children at home. The adaptive ‘exploration sampling’ algorithm is used to efficiently identify the call with the highest rate of engagement. Simulations show that adaptive sampling increased the posterior probability of the chosen arm being optimal from 86 to 93 percent and more than halved the posterior expected regret. The paper discusses a range of implementation aspects, including how to decide about research design parameters such as the number of experimental waves.

Cultural Transmission in Education | In recent decades, economists have studied how beliefs and preferences are formed and updated, and how cultural and social norms affect economic decisions. In a series of papers, together with our collaborators, we investigate how vertical and horizontal cultural transmission of preferences may affect educational outcomes.

Moldova–Digital Education Readiness Assessment 2021-22 | The Republic of Moldova is facing an unprecedented period of socioeconomic turmoil with profound adverse impacts on human capital formation. Just as the small, landlocked country was battling a bumpy recovery from the coronavirus (COVID-19) …