Disrupting Education

Public domain photo by the AkshayaPatra Foundation


Karthik Muralidharan
Associate Professor of Economics
University of California, San Diego


Friday, May 19, 2017


Noon–1:00 p.m. PT


RAND Corporation
1776 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA


Karthik Muralidharan will discuss his working paper, Disrupting Education: Experimental Evidence on Technology-Aided Instruction in India:

A technology-aided after-school instruction program in middle school grades in urban India used a lottery that provided students with a voucher to cover program costs. A key feature of the program was its ability to individually customize educational content to match the level and rate of progress of each student. Lottery winners had large increases in test scores over just a 4.5-month period. There were similar absolute test score gains for all students, but the relative gain was much greater for academically-weaker students because their rate of learning in the control group was close to zero. The program was able to effectively cater to the very wide variation in student learning levels within a single grade by precisely targeting instruction to the level of student preparation. The program was highly cost-effective, both in terms of productivity per dollar and unit of time. The results suggest that well-designed technology-aided instruction programs can sharply improve productivity in delivering education.


Karthik Muralidharan is an associate professor of economics at the University of California, San Diego. He is also a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), a Fellow of the Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD), a Board member and co-chair of the Education program at the Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), an Affiliate at the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA), and a Research Affiliate with Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA).

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