Do Solar Lamps Help Children Study? Contrary Evidence from a Pilot Study in Uganda

Chishio Furukawa
2013 Journal of Development Studies  
Over half a billion children lack adequate lighting and rely on dim, smoky, and dangerous kerosene-based lighting for their evening studies. This paper examines if the brighter, clean, safe, and zero-marginal-cost light of solar lamps enhances children's learning outcomes. In a randomized field experiment, unexpectedly, solar lamps lowered test scores by 5 points. Given that solar lamps increased reported study time by approximately 30 minutes, this may be due to flickering from lack of full
more » ... rom lack of full charge that lowered their productivity. The nationwide learning assessment survey suggests that solar lamps likely have insignificant effect on educational attainment. JEL Classifications: I25, O14, Q55
doi:10.1080/00220388.2013.833320 fatcat:yiwcowclevh2tmslwpqewav4by