Educational opportunity and behavioral spillovers at home

Available on SSRN.

(with Samina Bano, Amod Kumar and Anuj Kumar)

Research suggests that significant gaps in educational and economic achievement across race, ethnicity, and class stem from two deep-rooted sources of inequality— access to good schools and the home environment. In this article, we ask whether mitigating disparities in school access leads to positive behavioral responses at home. We hypothesize that access to educational opportunity (e.g., admission to a coveted school) shapes attitudes to learning and leads to behavioral spillovers at home that could enhance the value of good schools. We test this prediction using unique data on changes to household behavior made by winners and losers of the Right to Education lottery in Uttar Pradesh, India. We find that families whose children are admitted to private schools through RTE engage in more learning-oriented behaviors such as investing in coaching classes, educational materials at home, and the education of siblings. The results appear most robust for children admitted to integrated schools.