Handbook of Field Experiments 2016



Racial and ethnic inequality persists in countries across the globe. The most likely culprit is the disparity in skills among different demographics within a country. In this handbook chapter, we analyze the substantial literature on randomized field experiments that study the production of human capital in developed countries. What does the literature say about the effects of various interventions? What do these findings suggest about ways to combat the racial and ethnic achievement gap?


To start, we classified our final list of 196 field experiments into one of three groups: early childhood interventions, school-based interventions, and home-based interventions. Using techniques in meta-analysis, we calculated effects on reading and math standardized across the studies. Furthermore, we simulated a life-cycle model to suggest the extent to which these effects could close the persistent racial and ethnic inequality in the United States. One key finding suggests that high-dosage tutoring and specialized management of teachers are highly effective in increasing student achievement.
Conclusions drawn from a close inspection of the 196 studies provide us with information on incentives and treatments of various kinds that can potentially help us increase income and reduce the racial wage gap in developed economies across the world.


The forthcoming paper is available on our website.