This is a short paper assessing the impacts of a targeted policy aimed to improve the quality of education for girls in India, i.e., the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV) program. Under this program residential schools were built for girls in grades 6–8 (often known as middle school) and were unique because it is one of the few programs that exclusively focuses on improving school infrastructure for girls. The program was restricted to individuals belonging to backward castes in India which provides exogenous identifying variation. I use this eligibility criteria along with cohort variation in exposure to the program introduced in 2004 to estimate the impact of KGBV on enrollment and academic performance. I find that potentially affected cohorts are more likely to have attended school and perform better on reading tests. I run placebo regressions with data from a pre-policy year and do not find any effects along these dimensions providing confidence in the identification strategy.
I would like to thank Tanika Chakraborty and the seminar participants at Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur for valuable feedback and suggestions. I also thank Indrajit Sinha Ray and Barun Kumar Thakur for useful discussion on the topic. Finally, I thank an anonymous referee and the editor Mariapia Mendola for the very constructive and enriching comments.
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