Text Messaging and Its Impacts on the Health and Education of the Poor: Evidence from Field Experiments in Rural China

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World Development, Vol. 64, page(s): 766-780


world development article

There is little evidence showing whether health information transmitted via text messages can change health and educational outcomes. We conducted a randomized field experiment involving 900 primary students in rural China to study whether a health education campaign conducted via text message could affect caregiver knowledge or student outcomes. When caregivers received both weekly health messages and monthly quiz questions (testing retention of the information conveyed in the weekly messages), caregiver knowledge improved and students experienced gains in both health and academic performance. When caregivers received weekly health messages only, there was no impact on caregiver knowledge or student outcomes.


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