Information about children’s school performance appears to be readily available. Do frictions prevent parents, particularly low-income parents, from acting on this information when making decisions? I conduct a field experiment in Malawi to test this. I find that parents’ baseline beliefs about their children’s academic performance are inaccurate. Providing parents with clear and digestible academic performance information causes them to update their beliefs and correspondingly adjust their investments: they increase the school enrollment of their higher-performing children, decrease the enrollment of their lower-performing children, and choose educational inputs that are more closely matched to their children’s academic level. These effects demonstrate the presence of important frictions preventing the use of available information, with heterogeneity analysis suggesting the frictions are worse among the poor.

More Research From These Scholars

BFI Working Paper Jul 11, 2017

Governance and the effectiveness of public health subsidies: Evidence from Ghana, Kenya and Uganda

Rebecca Dizon-Ross, Pascaline Dupas, Jonathan Robinson
Topics:  Healthcare, Economic Mobility & Poverty
BFI Working Paper Jun 5, 2018

How Does School Accountability Affect Teachers? Evidence from New York City

Rebecca Dizon-Ross
Topics:  Early Childhood Education, K-12 Education, Healthcare
BFI Working Paper Jan 4, 2019

Parents’ Beliefs About Their Children’s Academic Ability: Implications for Educational Investments

Rebecca Dizon-Ross
Topics:  Economic Mobility & Poverty, Early Childhood Education