Abstract: Exposure to school violence has proven to be detrimental to human capital formation, but there is limited rigorous evidence about how to tackle this pervasive issue. This paper examines the impacts of a large-scale intervention that aimed to improve the school heads’ skills to manage school violence in Peru. I exploit the eligibility rules used to select beneficiary schools and use a fuzzy regression discontinuity design to estimate the short-term impacts of the intervention on violence and education-related outcomes. The findings show that the likelihood of reporting violence increased by 37 percentage points and that the number of reports of violence also rose among eligible schools. Using unique administrative, qualitative, and primary data, I find suggestive evidence that the documented rise in reports of violence is primarily due to shifts in reporting behaviour rather than a greater incidence of school violence. Upon exploring the short-term impacts on education-related outcomes, I find the intervention reduced the student likelihood of switching schools by three percentage points. These findings add to our understanding of the benefits of investing in school staff skills that contribute to the creation of safer learning environments.
Presentations: RISE Conference (from 10:21 min to 24:35 min)
“Gender Norms, Violence and Adolescent Girls’ Trajectories. Evidence from a Field Experiment in India” (with Alison Andrew, Abhishek Gautam, Sonya Krutikova and Hemlata Verma)
Abstract: In this paper we consider whether it is possible to improve women’s welfare and make progress towards gender equity despite prevailing restrictive gender norms or whether real change requires a shift in norms and how they are enforced. We leverage a randomized experiment in rural Rajasthan, a highly conservative part of India, to compare two approaches to improving the outcomes of adolescent girls. The first targets only the adolescent girls (in a way that is similar to many existing programs) encouraging them to stay in education and be aware of the costs of early marriage. The second additionally targets the prevailing norm structures by engaging with the wider community and community leaders. We find that while there was a significant reduction in school dropout and rates of early marriage amongst older girls in both groups, the overall well-being of the girls (captured by mental health measures) only improved with the addition of community engagement activities; we also find that this positive well-being effect may have arisen through a reduction in the threat of violence that girls’ perceived they would face for breaking gender norms. Our results suggest that in settings with restrictive norms, wider norm change is key to improving women’s welfare and that while interventions that target women only may be effective at improving some outcomes, they may risk jeopardising overall well-being through exposing women to greater risk of sanctions.
Selected work in progress:
"What motivates school heads to take up top-down design interventions? The role of alignment in mission preferences in Peru "
"Financing health providers: The case of universal health insurance in Peru" (with Antonella Bancalari and Marcos Vera-Hernandez)
Selected Policy & Program Evaluation Reports:
Promoting Adolescent Engagement, Knowledge and Health (PAnKH) in Rajasthan, India: Implementation and Cost-Effectiveness (with Sonya Krutikova, Alison Andrew, Hemlata Verma, Abhishek Gautam, Ravi Verma, Madhumita Das, Pranita Achyut, Ronak Soni and Sanjay Sharma), IFS report, December 2018.
Promoting Adolescent Engagement, Knowledge and Health (PAnKH) in Rajasthan, India: Program Impact Report (with Sonya Krutikova, Alison Andrew, Hemlata Verma, Abhishek Gautam, Ravi Verma, Madhumita Das, Pranita Achyut, Ronak Soni and Sanjay Sharma), IFS report, December 2018.
New Evidence on Pupils’ Skills, Teacher’s Attitudes & Practices from a Baseline Survey of Public Preschools in Timor-Leste (with Sourovi De, Adrian Beavis, Adiba Khaled and Madhav Vaidyanathan), OPM Report, September 2016.
"Hacia un 'Nuevo Normal' en la educación de niños y adolescentes: retos, riesgos y oportunidades" (con Alessandra Richter). Junio, 2020. HacerPeru.
Video-Columnas Grupo REDES-Ojo Público: dissemination of recent influential research among economists and non-economists with the aim of encouraging evidence-based policymaking.