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NBER Working Papers and Publications
|December 2016||Books or Laptops? The Cost-Effectiveness of Shifting from Printed to Digital Delivery of Educational Content|
with Rosangela Bando, Francisco Gallego, Paul Gertler: w22928
Information and communication technologies, such as laptops, can be used for educational purposes as they provide users with computational tools, information storage and communication opportunities, but these devices may also pose as distractors that may tamper with the learning process. This paper presents results from a randomized controlled trial in which laptops replaced traditional textbook provision in elementary schools in high poverty communities in Honduras in 2013 through the program Educatracho. We show that at the end of one school year, the substitution of laptops for textbooks did not make a significant difference in student learning. We additionally conducted a cost-effectiveness analysis, which demonstrated that given the low marginal costs of digital textbook provision, th...
|September 2016||The Perils of High-Powered Incentives: Evidence from Colombia's False Positives|
with Daron Acemoglu, Leopoldo Fergusson, James A. Robinson, Juan F. Vargas: w22617
High-powered incentives for the military and security services have become a common counterinsurgency strategy over the last several decades. We investigate the use of such incentives for members of the Colombian army in the long-running civil war against left-wing guerillas, and show that it produced several perverse side effects. Innocent civilians were killed and misrepresented as guerillas (a phenomenon known in Colombia as ‘false positives’). Exploiting the fact that Colombian colonels have stronger career concerns and should be more responsive to such incentives, we show that there were significantly more false positives during the period of high-powered incentives in municipalities where a higher share of brigades were commanded by colonels and in those where checks coming from civi...