Date of Submission

Spring 2018

Academic Programs and Concentrations


Project Advisor 1

Sanjaya DeSilva

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Universal education has been an international development goal for a very long time, and gaps still exist in gender parity in developing countries. This project aims to address the fact that while the provision of affordable and accessible education in- stitutions have seen great successes in the past, perhaps the way forward now is to analyze the demand side issues. Due to cultural norms, demand for girls’ education in developing countries is lacking. The first part of the paper explores the psychological constraints of present bias, role model effect and stereotype threat in the context of girls’ educational demands. The second part of the paper analyzes several randomized control trials (RCTs) with the lens of behavioral economics, and then proposes a new RCT to test the role model effect on primary school girls in rural Bangladesh. The proposal calls for the distribution of short stories that portray empowered women to young girls, with the hopes that this will create a virtuous cycle of empowered women acting as role models for younger generations in the long run, while short term effects will be measured on the basis of changes in aspirations.

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