Changing Perceptions of Educational Returns in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Meta-Analysis

David Evans
Event speaker

David Evans, Center for Global Development

164 Angell St., 2nd floor, Providence, RI 02906

Campaigns to provide information about the returns to additional years of schooling have been lauded as low-cost ways to boost student engagement in school. We review 12 such programs in low- and middle-income countries across Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and Latin America. On average, we find that information campaigns that provide information on the returns to education lead to more accurate student beliefs about the average value of further schooling, but also that those beliefs may be revised either upward or downward, depending on the direction of initial bias. We find positive and significant impacts on school participation (with an average standardized effect size of 0.02) and on student learning (0.05). Costs tend to be low, so despite modest effects, these are likely cost-effective. We discuss variation across studies, design decisions, implementation challenges, heterogeneous effects, and ethical considerations.