Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Best Way to Help Poor People is to Give them Money

More evidence that big expenditures on educational improvements and so on don't help poor children nearly as much as cash:
Here’s a story about Norway. On August 21, 1969,massive oil reserves were discovered under Norway’s sovereign waters in the North Sea. Previously poor regions became suddenly wealthy as the petroleum boom–later bolstered by a natural gas discovery–poured new income into the region.But the wealth wasn’t spread evenly—not every Norwegian in the north could get in on the action. Suddenly there were the makings of a great natural experiment (PDF). Researchers wanted to see what the impact of sudden cash infusions–a significant environmental change–had on previously poor students, as compared with their still-impoverished peers. The influx of money bested almost every other popular solution to the education gap: students in suddenly-well-off families saw an average of 3 percent increase in absolute IQ and a 6 percent increase in college attendance. The results were as good as the best American charter schools at a fraction of the cost and logistical hassle.

1 comment:

G. Veloren said...

People learn best when they're healthy and not stressed. The poorer a person is, the less healthy and more stressed they are. When you can afford to eat properly, receive proper medical care, and engage in quality leisure activites, the quality of both your life and your education increases dramatically.

Or put another way - if you're a kid in a household where you don't always know where your next meal will come from (or if you'll even get it at all), where your parents are stressed out and overworked, and where even at the best of times there's always a creeping feeling of desperation and anxiety lest some calamity makes it impossible for your family to make ends meet, you're not going to have much interest in or aptitude in obtaining a quality education.