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Early childhood, primary school, and cognition in a second best world: Evidence from a large-scale preschool construction experiment in Cambodia
Last registered on May 14, 2014

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Early childhood, primary school, and cognition in a second best world: Evidence from a large-scale preschool construction experiment in Cambodia
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0000220
Initial registration date
Not yet registered
Last updated
May 14, 2014 2:27 PM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
The World Bank
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Paris school of Economics
PI Affiliation
World Bank
PI Affiliation
Paris School of Economics
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2008-12-01
End date
2011-09-01
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Interventions targeting early childhood development, such as preschools, are often seen as promising mechanisms to invest in human capital. This paper presents results from a Randomized Controlled Trial of a large scale preschool construction program in Cambodia, and indicates a cautionary tale. The overall impact of the program on a wide set of children’s early childhood outcomes was small and not significant. Moreover, among the cohort with highest exposure (5 year olds) the program led to a negative impact on early childhood cognition.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Adrien, Bouguen et al. 2014. " Early childhood, primary school, and cognition in a second best world: Evidence from a large-scale preschool construction experiment in Cambodia ." AEA RCT Registry. May 14. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.220-1.0.
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
The intervention consists in constructing a new primary school with a pre-school component in some villages in Cambodia. The intervention also included staffing the new pre-schools with trained teachers. The program provided some school materials (books for library, notebooks, teaching books).
Intervention Start Date
2009-10-01
Intervention End Date
2011-06-01
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Cognitive tests
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
This is clustered evaluation randomized at the village (community) level. At baseline, up to 40 households with at least one child aged between 2 and 4 years old (24 month to 59 months) were sampled in each of the 40 villages included in the evaluation. In total 1399 households were surveyed with a total of 1731 children.

Then, from the 45 villages, 19 villages were randomly selected to serve as a control group. The control villages had their school renovated at a later stage (after the endline).

Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Village
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
45 schools
Sample size: planned number of observations
1399 households and 1731 target age children.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
26 in treatment, 19 in control
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
23.1 standard deviation (rho=5%, full compliance)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
June 01, 2011, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
September 01, 2011, 12:00 AM +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
45
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
No
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
1549
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
26 in treatment 19 in control
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
No
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers