After-School Tutoring, Household Substitution and Student Achievement: Experimental Evidence from Rural China

50 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2020

See all articles by Jere Behrman

Jere Behrman

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics

Simon Fan

Lingnan University

Xiangdong Wei

Lingnan College

Hongliang Zhang

Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU)

Junsen Zhang

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) - Department of Economics

Date Written: January 20, 2020

Abstract

Worldwide children’s access to after-school learning activities is highly dependent on family backgrounds. Concern over the implications of such activities for child development and educational inequality has led to a global rise of public provision of after-school learning support. However little is known about inter-actions of public after-school activities and household investments in children’s learning. This paper contributes to the literature on the effects of public inputs on household inputs and student achievement in after-school settings. We build a model that integrates public and private inputs to produce student achievement through two competing mechanisms – diminishing returns to total inputs and complementarity between public and private inputs. When diminishing returns dominate complementarity, the model predicts the substitution away of private inputs due to increases in public inputs for all households, although the extent of crowding-out is smaller and therefore the test score gains are larger for children from disadvantaged family backgrounds facing higher costs of private inputs. We implement a randomized controlled after-school tutoring experiment in rural China where many children are left-behind by both parents and cared for by grandparents. During the program, tutees living with parents reported large and significant reductions in the amount of tutoring received at home, whereas tutees living apart from both parents reported much smaller, and often insignificant, reductions. We find that tutees’ math scores improved significantly, and more for children living without parents, although there is no evidence for improvement in tutees’ endline reading scores.

Keywords: inequality of educational opportunity; after-school tutoring; home tutoring

JEL Classification: F63, I24, I25

Suggested Citation

Behrman, Jere R. and Fan, Simon and Wei, Xiangdong and Zhang, Hongliang and Zhang, Junsen, After-School Tutoring, Household Substitution and Student Achievement: Experimental Evidence from Rural China (January 20, 2020). PIER Working Paper No. 20-004 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3523203 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3523203

Jere R. Behrman (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics ( email )

Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science
133 South 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6297
United States
215-898-7704 (Phone)
215-573-2057 (Fax)

Simon Fan

Lingnan University

Xiangdong Wei

Lingnan College ( email )

8 Castle Peak Road
Hong Kong
China

Hongliang Zhang

Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU)

Department of Economics
Kowloon, Hong Kong
Hong Kong

Junsen Zhang

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) - Department of Economics ( email )

Shatin, N.T.
Hong Kong

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