Indian call centers promote school enrollment

by on April 15, 2010 at 6:57 am in Economics, Education | Permalink

Emily Oster and Bryce Millett report:

Over the last two decades in India there have been large increases in outsourced jobs and large increases in schooling rates, particularly in English. Existing evidence suggests the trends are broadly related. In this paper we explore how localized these impacts are; this has implications for understanding how quickly information about these jobs diffuses. We use panel data on school enrollment from a comprehensive school-level administrative dataset. This is merged with detailed data on Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES) center location and founding dates. Using school fixed effects, we estimate the impact of introducing a new ITES center in the vicinity of the school on enrollment. We find that introducing a new ITES center results in a 5.7% increase in number of children enrolled; these effects are extremely localized. We argue this result is not driven by pre-trends in enrollment or endogenous center placement, and is not a result of ITES-center induced changes in population or increases in income. The effect is driven entirely by English-language schools, consistent with the claim that the impacts are driven by changes in returns to schooling.

Meekins April 15, 2010 at 8:03 am

Anecdotally, I know of multiple companies that have started pulling all or part of their call-center operations back to the US. For better or for worse, American customers hate recognizably Indian centers. I don’t know if this will become a net loss of business, or even a trend that moves from plural anecdotes to data. If it does lead to relative shrinkage, I wonder what it will mean for India socially and culturally.

Mike April 15, 2010 at 9:01 pm

Robert Jensen from UCLA public policy has a very similar paper. I think his conclusions are more salient and more convincing as he uses a randomized trial:

yrnad May 13, 2010 at 4:57 pm

Good news for India coz for kind of job because most of the employers in a call center were students- having a part time or full time-which can help them for their tuition in school or for their necessities…

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