Karthik Muralidharan

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Karthik Muralidharan is the Tata Chancellor's Professor of Economics at the University of California San Diego.[1] He is also a principal investigator on the RISE India team[2] and Co-Chair of Education Research at J-PAL.[3]

How their work relates to education systems

In "Improving School Education Outcomes in Developing Countries", Muralidharan and Paul Glewwe summarize evidence on improving education outcomes in developing countries and give implications for both research and policy. Ultimately, the authors find that many expensive "standard" school inputs "are not very effective at improving outcomes;" however, some less expensive inputs were effective at improving outcomes. These included improving pedagogy, improving school governance, and increasing teacher accountability.[4]

In "Improving Public Sector Management at Scale? Experimental Evidence on School Governance in India," Muralidharan and his co-author reviewed an intervention in that worked to improve management quality in Indian schools through comprehensive assessments, detailed school ratings, and customized school improvement plans. The authors found that the intervention had no impact on school functioning or student outcomes; however, the national government still scaled up the ineffective program. Ultimately, this paper revealed how "ostensibly well-designed programs, that appear effective based on administrative measures of compliance, may be ineffective in practice."[5]

In "Personnel Management and School Productivity: Evidence from India," Muralidharan and his co-authors found that management quality in Indian public schools was about two standard deviations below high-income countries. They also found that private schools had higher management quality, a positive correlation between higher teacher effectiveness and teacher pay, and a stronger ability to retain more effective teachers. These results were not seen in public schools.[6]

Brief biography

Karthik Muralidharan is a Professor of Economics at the University of California San Diego.[1] He is also a RISE Intellectual Leadership Team member and PI of the RISE India Country Research Team,[2] a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), a Fellow and Board Member of the Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD), a Board member and co-chair of the Education program at the Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), an Affiliate at the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA), and a Research Affiliate with Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA).[7]

Muralidharan is considered one of the world’s leading scholars on education in developing countries, especially in India. He has an exceptional track record of conducting rigorous randomized evaluations at scale while working closely with governments. He has authored highly cited studies on governance in Indian schools. In Andhra Pradesh, he has conducted large-scale experimental evaluations of a range of education policies, including performance pay, block grants, diagnostic feedback and private school vouchers.[2]

Karthik Muralidharan. https://riseprogramme.org/

As an academic scholar, he invests time and effort in communicating and disseminating research results to broader audiences in nontechnical language. He has given over 120 invited lectures and seminars in over 15 countries in the past decade, and has written influential policy-oriented documents including the approach paper on primary education for India’s 12th Five-Year Plan. His primary research interests include development, public, and labor economics.[2]

Born and raised in India, he earned an AB in Economics from Harvard, an MPhil in Economics from the University of Cambridge, and a PhD in Economics from Harvard.[7]

Key publications related to education systems

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 UCSD Policy Design and Evaluation Lab. "Karthik Muralidharan." https://pdel.ucsd.edu/people/research-affiliates/karthik-muralidharan.html Accessed 2021-08-31.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Karthik Muralidharan". RISE Programme. Retrieved 2021-08-26. https://riseprogramme.org/people/karthik-muralidharan
  3. J-PAL. "Education". https://www.povertyactionlab.org/sector/education Accessed 2021-08-31.
  4. Glewwe, P. and Muralidharan, K. 2015. Improving School Education Outcomes in Developing Countries. RISE Working Paper Series. 15/001. https://doi.org/10.35489/BSG-RISE-WP_2015/001
  5. Muralidharan, K. and Singh, A. 2020. Improving Public Sector Management at Scale? Experimental Evidence on School Governance in India. RISE Working Paper Series. 20/056. https://doi.org/10.35489/BSG-RISE-WP_2020/056
  6. Lemos, R., Muralidharan, K. and Scur, D. 2021. Personnel Management and School Productivity: Evidence from India. RISE Working Paper Series. 21/063. https://doi.org/10.35489/BSG-RISE-WP_2021/063
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Karthik Muralidharan". econweb.ucsd.edu. Retrieved 2021-08-26. https://econweb.ucsd.edu/~kamurali/