Measuring the Returns to Secondary Education

Last registered on December 28, 2019


Trial Information

General Information

Measuring the Returns to Secondary Education
Initial registration date
June 15, 2013
Last updated
December 28, 2019, 4:18 PM EST


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Primary Investigator


Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Stanford University
PI Affiliation
Harvard University

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
By offering means-tested secondary school scholarships to a randomly selected subset of youth in Ghana, and comparing school enrollment and longer-term outcomes in cognition, health, employment, as well as attitudes and beliefs, between scholarship winners and a similar group of youth not offered a scholarship, this study aims to provide evidence on the barriers to enrollment and estimate the longer-run impacts of secondary education.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Duflo, Esther , PASCALINE DUPAS and Michael Kremer. 2019. "Measuring the Returns to Secondary Education." AEA RCT Registry. December 28.
Former Citation
Duflo, Esther et al. 2019. "Measuring the Returns to Secondary Education." AEA RCT Registry. December 28.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details


682 youths who had just completed senior high school and qualified for secondary school on the basis of the gateway exam were randomly selected among 2,054 academically qualified but poor students to receive a 4-year scholarship to cover tuition and fees for senior high school.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
educational attainment, cognitive skills, health, fertility and marriage outcomes, labor market participation, attitudes, beliefs, political participation, time and risk preferences, technology adoption
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
- Educational attainment: years of schooling, types of schooling, degrees completed
- Cognitive outcomes: score on achievement test, raven's matrix, digit recall
- Attitudes and preferences: willingness to express opinions, willingness to contribute to public goods, risk aversion, discount rates, fatalism, extroversion, conformism
- Labor market outcomes: Labor market participation, career choices, earnings)
- Non-formal sector livelihoods: coping patterns, use of fertilizer etc
- Savings and asset accumulation: use of formal and informal savings mechanisms, money management etc
- Marriage outcomes: age at marriage, spouse’s characteristics;
- Fertility: age at first pregnancy, number of children, spacing, desired family size
- Health and reproductive health: hygiene and water use habits, days of work, incidence of common diseases such as diarrhea of self and children, nutritional behavior, maternal and child health
- Civic and political participation; beliefs, values, attitudes.
- Outcomes for relatives of scholarship recipients (health and welfare of parents or guardians and siblings, educational achievement of siblings).

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We sampled 2,064 students (evenly split between males and females) who had completed junior high school and earned admission into a 4-year secondary school (“senior high school”) but had not enrolled by the Fall 2008 due to financial constraints. Out of these 2,064 students, 682 students were selected (by lottery) to receive a scholarship that covered 100% of the tuition and fees at a local public senior high school. The scholarships were announced during the 2008/2009 academic year and over 75% of scholarship winners enrolled in senior high school that year.
The goal is to compare the outcomes of those offered the scholarship (the treatment group) with those who did not win the lottery (the comparison group) for at least 10 years in order to estimate the impacts of lowering the financial barriers to secondary school enrollment and the returns to secondary education. We will track each of the 2,064 students in the baseline sample (both scholarships winners and losers) three times over 10 years to conduct short-, medium-, and long-run follow-ups.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
2064 students and their baseline household co-members (guardians, siblings)
Sample size: planned number of observations
2064 students and their baseline household co-members (guardians, siblings)
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
682 treatment students/households and 1382 control students/households
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Stanford IRB
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Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) IRB
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Massachusetts Institute of Technology COUHES
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