NPR recently featured research co-authored by CEGA faculty co-director Ted Miguel revealing the twenty-year impacts of a deworming study in Kenya. In the interview, co-author Michael Kremer discusses the study design and updated results of the program.
“An inexpensive way to help kids in poor countries: hand out deworming pills so they’re healthy enough to stay in school. A study by a Nobel Prize winner finds 20 years on, they earn higher wages too.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
A pioneering study discovered that giving schoolchildren in poor countries a pill that costs as little as 50 cents and protects them from parasitic infections has dramatic effects. This research over 20 years reveals the benefits carry over into adulthood. NPR’s Nurith Aizenman reports.
NURITH AIZENMAN, BYLINE: In the mid-1990s, economist Michael Kremer was visiting Kenya.
MICHAEL KREMER: I mean, I was on vacation. I wasn’t there for a research trip or something.
AIZENMAN: A friend there mentioned he was starting an aid program to help elementary school kids, including by giving them deworming pills against all sorts of nasty intestinal parasites that can cause kids to miss school.
KREMER: I suggested that if he chose twice as many schools and then they initially started working in half of them and then later, you know, expanded, then they could measure the impact of what they were doing.
AIZENMAN: By comparing what happened to the kids who got the pills first versus those who got them in the expansion up to three years later, you could see if it made a difference. This kind of experiment is called a randomized controlled trial, and it’s long been the way that scientists like, say, biologists determine whether a new medication works. But at the time, randomized controlled trials were just starting to gain ground as a tool for economists to check if programs to alleviate poverty worked.”
Read the full transcript or listen to the interview at NPR.
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