This study reports results from a randomized evaluation of a mandatory six-month Internet-based sexual education course implemented across public junior high schools in 21 Colombian cities. Six months after finishing the course, the study finds a 0.4 standard deviation improvement in knowledge, a 0.2 standard deviation improvement in attitudes, and a 55 percent increase in the likelihood of redeeming vouchers for condoms as a result of taking the course. The data provide no evidence of spillovers to control classrooms within treatment schools. However, the analysis provides compelling evidence that treatment effects are enhanced when a larger share of a student's friends also takes the course. The low cost of the online course along with the effectiveness the study documents suggests this technology is a viable alternative for improving sexual education in middle-income countries.
Bibliographical noteFunding text: Alberto Chong (corresponding author) is a professor at Georgia State University (email: email@example.com) and Universidad del Pacifico; Marco Gonzalez-Navarro is an assistant professor at University of California, Berkeley (email: firstname.lastname@example.org); Dean Karlan is a professor at Northwestern University (email: email@example.com); and Martín Valdivia is a senior researcher at Group for the Analysis of Development (GRADE–Peru) (email: firstname.lastname@example.org). This research would not have been possible without the sustained support of the Profamilia staff in charge of implementing and monitoring the intervention, especially German López and Lyda Díaz. The authors also recognize valuable research assistance from Angela García, César Mora, Juan Pablo Ocampo, Martin Sweeney, and project leadership by Beniamino Savonitto and Rachel Strohm. All errors and omissions are ours. The authors thank the Interamerican Development Bank for funding. All opinions are those of the authors, and not of the participating organizations or donors. The authors retained full intellectual freedom to report the results throughout the study. The study received Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval from Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) under protocol 117.09June-003.
- field experiment
- information technologies
- sex education