Work in Progress

Learning by Doing?: Experimental Evidence on Activity-based Instruction in India, with A. de Barros, P. Glewwe, and A. Shankar. Conditionally accepted via pre-results review process at the Journal of Development Economics.


The accumulation of human capital can increase economic growth and reduce poverty. There are now many rigorous studies on “what works” to increase student learning in developing countries, but there is surprisingly little evidence on how to increase learning by changing instructional practice. We conduct a randomized trial to study the causal effect of an innovative program in Karnataka, India, that promotes activity-based learning through teacher training, additional inputs, and community engagement. For this study, we have randomly assigned 98 administrative units (Gram Panchayats) and 292 schools to either receiving the program or a control group. Our primary outcome of interest is child learning, in mathematics, for students in grade four (at baseline). The study’s secondary analyses investigate instructional behaviors, community and parental engagement, and the program’s implementation fidelity. Sub-group analyses focus on differential effects by students’ initial skill level, gender, and geographic location (i.e., district).

Pre-registered at the AEA RCT Trial Registry (AEARCTR-0003494)


Domestic Violence, Decision-Making Power and Female Employment in Colombia

Under review.


Using data from the Colombian Demographic and Health Survey, I study the effect of domestic violence (DV) on women’s employment. I find a positive relationship between DV and employment, which persists when I exploit the husband’s own childhood experience of domestic violence as a source of plausibly exogenous variation for the incidence of DV. I find that reported DV increases the likelihood of female employment by about 23 percentage points, or 35% percent. This result is robust to potential violations of the IV assumptions: the exclusion restriction and monotonicity. To explore potential mechanisms underlying this positive result, I use a causal mediation analysis. I find that a woman’s willingness to divorce, which comes from increases in her outside option, is an important mediator. Working women are able to gain control over money and to acquire the financial resources they need to be able to escape the violence and end the marital union.



Recent Publications

Bellemare, M., Fajardo-Gonzalez, J., and Gitter, S. (2018) Foods and Fads: The Welfare Impacts of Rising Quinoa Prices in PeruWorld Development, 112, 163-179  [Ungated version here]


Fajardo-Gonzalez, J. (2016) Inequality of opportunity in Adult Health in ColombiaThe Journal of Economic Inequality, 14(4), 395–416  [Ungated version here]

Please check other publications listed in my CV.

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