Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Researching schooling reality in Hyderabad

During my coordination of the research internship program Researching Reality for undergraduates, I was often confronted with this question. Given that I lack sophisticated statistical or mathematical tools, how do I analytically piece together all these facts that I observe. What is my framework of reasoning? A benchmark paper would be The Regulation of Private Schools Serving Low-Income Families in Andhra Pradesh, India. This is the kind of paper that a layman with little disciplinary knowledge but rigorous sense of reasoning can pursue with intellectual profit.

Most of the facts may not seem new to you. The article talks about corruption in the private schools in the slums of Hyderabad. But notice the style of reasoning and you will be impressed by the richness of thought that the Austrian economics school of thought can bring to public policy analysis. (And especially designing markets in lieu of bureaucratic regulatory Acts.) Contrast that with the acute lack of such research in India and you will not be surprised at the paper winning the Don Lavoie Memorial Graduate Student Paper Competition. Here is the clincher. If you hate economics or are even economics-illiterate but still want a sound analysis of a policy process, you should read it.

I am not posting the abstract for that may invoke oversight! :-)

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