The past two decades have seen the emergence of numerous rigorous evaluations of educational interventions in developing countries. These studies employ methodologies that allow researchers to reach causal conclusions about the effects of the programs that they evaluated. This course aims to distill the main policy lessons from these studies by reviewing the main theories that motivated them, the empirical strategies used to assess them, the emerging puzzles, and the substantive results and their policy implications. The course will analyze new evidence emerging from developing countries concerning basic education (K-12), and have an economic perspective on educational problems. By the end of the course, students will have acquired: comprehensive knowledge of the evidence of the impact of various strategies to improve access to education and learning in developing countries; an understanding of the policy consequences of these educational strategies, and of the strengths and weaknesses of different methodological approaches to impact evaluation in education; and strong analytical and communication skills to make evidence-based judgments and convey them effectively to non-technical audiences. The course is designed for masters and doctoral students, and for other graduate students across Harvard interested in education and economics of education in developing countries. Prerequisite: Prior knowledge of economics as demonstrated by completion of A-205, or a similar course, is required. Also required is a basic understanding of statistics, as demonstrated by completion of S-012 or a similar course.
Also offered by the Graduate School of Education as A-822.