Working Paper


Augmenting State Capacity for Child Development: Experimental Evidence from India


Image of Alejandro Ganimian

Alejandro Ganimian

New York University

Image of Karthik Muralidharan

Karthik Muralidharan

RISE India

University of California San Diego (UCSD)

Image of Christopher R. Walters

Christopher R. Walters

University of California Berkeley

We use a large-scale randomized experiment to study the impact of augmenting staffing in the world’s largest public early childhood program: India’s Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS). Adding a half-time worker doubled net preschool instructional time and led to 0.29σ and 0.46σ increases in math and language test scores after 18 months for children who remained enrolled in the program. Rates of stunting and severe malnutrition were also lower in the treatment group. A cost-benefit analysis suggests that the benefits of augmenting ICDS staffing are likely to significantly exceed its costs even under conservative assumptions.


Ganimian, A., Muralidharan, K. and Walters, C. 2021. Augmenting State Capacity for Child Development: Experimental Evidence from India. RISE Working Paper Series. 21/080.