In contrast to its decentralized political economy model of the 1980s, China took a surprising turn towards recentralization in the mid-1990s. Its fiscal centralization, starting with the 1994 tax reforms, is well known, but political recentralization also has been under way to control cadres directly at township and village levels. Little-noticed measures designed to tighten administrative and fiscal regulation began to be implemented during approximately the same period in the mid-1990s. Over time these measures have succeeded in hollowing out the power of village and township cadres.
We conducted a survey of 1707 children in 141 impoverished rural areas of Guizhou and Sichuan Provinces in Southwest China. Kato-Katz smear testing of stool samples elucidated the prevalence of ascariasis, trichuriasis and hookworm infections in pre-school and school aged children. Demographic, hygiene, household and anthropometric data were collected to better understand risks for infection in this population. 21.2 percent of pre-school children and 22.9 percent of school aged children were infected with at least one of the three types of STH.
Recruiting and retaining leaders and public servants at the grass-roots level in developing countries creates a potential tension between providing sufficient returns to attract talent and limiting the scope for excessive rent-seeking behavior. In China, researchers have frequently argued that village cadres, who are the lowest level of administrators in rural areas, exploit personal political status for economic gain.
Background: To study how misaligned supply-side incentives impede health programs in developing countries, we tested the impact of performance pay for anemia reduction in rural China. To the best of our knowledge, our study is the first to evaluate performance pay for actual health improvement.
Despite both requirements of and support for universal education up to grade 9, there are concerning reports that China is still suffering from high and maybe even rising dropout rates in some poor rural areas. Unfortunately, besides aggregated statistics from the Ministry of Education (which show almost universal compliance with the nine year compulsory education law), there is little independent, survey-based evidence on the nature of dropout in China.
Background. Despite growing wealth and a strengthening commitment from the government to provide quality education, a significant share of students across rural China still have inadequate access to micronutrient-rich regular diets. Such poor diets can lead to nutritional problems, such as iron-deficiency anemia, that can adversely affect attention and learning in school.
China’s New Cooperative Medical Scheme, launched in 2003, was designed to protect rural households from the financial risk posed by health care costs and to increase the use of health care services. This article reports on findings from a longitudinal study of how the program affected the use of health care services, out-of-pocket spending on medical care, and the operations and financial viability of China’s township health centers, which constitute a middle tier of care in between village clinics and county hospitals.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, China’s Ministry of Education embarked on an ambitious program of elementary school mergers by shutting down small village schools and opening up larger centralized schools in towns and county seats.
Summary. — Using rural household panel data from three Chinese provinces, this paper identifies determinants of long-term poverty and tests the duration dependence on the probability to leave poverty. Special emphasis is given to the selection of the poverty line and inter-regional differences across provinces. Results suggest that the majority of population seems to be only temporary poor.
In this paper we present new evidence on the impact of health and nutrition information on anemia rates from three large-scale randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in rural China. Each RCT studies a different type of health education campaign designed in partnership with the Chinese government to reduce the prevalence of iron-deficiency anemia among rural primary school students. These campaigns include single and multiple face-to-face education sessions for parents at their children’s schools as well as dissemination of written health education materials.
The main goal of this paper is to analyze the factors (access, attendance and quality of preschools) that may be affecting the educational readiness of China’s rural children before they enter the formal school system. Using data from a survey of 80 preschools and 500 households in 6 counties in 3 provinces of China, this paper documents the nature of early childhood education (ECE) services and the educational readiness of children aged 4-5 in rural China. We present evidence that ECE services are seriously deficient.
Despite rapid growth in China, it is unclear whether the poor have benefited in terms of nutrition. This paper’s goal is to understand the prevalence of anemia among school children in western China.We report on results from seven cross-sectional surveys involving 12,768 age 8-12 students. Sample students were selected randomly from 283 primary schools in 41 poor counties of Ningxia, Qinghai, Shaanxi and Sichuan provinces. Data were collected through questionnaires and hemoglobin tests. The dataset represents 7 million age 8-12 children in poor western counties.
Many educational systems have struggled with the question about how best to give out financial aid. In particular, if students do not know the amount of financial aid that they are receive before they make a decision about where to go to college and what major to study, it may distort their decision.
Opportunities to go to college and earn a degree have risen dramatically in China. Government investment into the college systems has skyrocketed and the size of universities has increased by more than five times over the past decade. With the rise in the opportunity to go to college, several questions naturally arise: Are the rural poor—perhaps those that would most benefit individually as well as provide spillovers to their home communities—being systematically excluded? If they are, what are the barriers that are keeping them from having access to higher education?
Although universities have expanded in size, it is unclear if the poor have benefited. If there are high returns to college education, then increasing access of the poor to college has important welfare implications. The objective of this paper is to document the rates of enrollment into college of the poor and to identify the hurdles to doing so.
Although the past few decades have seen incomes rise and increased government commitment to helping the poor, there is concern that a large fraction of children in rural China still lack regular access to micronutrient-rich regular diets. Insufficient diets and poor knowledge of nutrition among low income populations can result in nutritional problems, including iron deficiency anemia, which adversely affect attention and learning in school.
Impact evaluation has become an increasingly integral part of development project design and execution in recent years. Many questions remain, however, about what methods yield the most compelling evaluations, and how best to implement them. The Rural Education Action Project (REAP) is among the most successful impact evaluation groups currently operating in China. The goal of this paper is to share five practical strategies that REAP has employed to maximize the effectiveness of our impact evaluations.