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Amita Chudgar - Michigan State University. East Lansing, MI, US

Amita Chudgar

Associate Professor of Education Policy | Michigan State University


Amita Chudgar's long-term interest focuses on ensuring that all learners have equal access to high-quality learning opportunities.





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Who teaches marginalized children, and what may explain these teacher distribution patterns? Factors Associated with Secondary Education in India, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda Secondary Education and Select Adulthood Outcomes in India, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda 2016 India Conference Panel: Education



My current and recent scholarship has focused on: (i) teacher labor markets in developing countries, (ii) implications of growing educational privatization in low-income countries and (iii) promises and challenges of educating youth in resource-constrained environments. In each of these areas through a diverse portfolio of scholarly activities I have contributed to academic discourses and generated insights relevant to policymakers and practitioners. Informed by my experiences teaching several methods classes and aligned with my commitment to connect my research to practical challenges of policy and practice, I have also devoted increasing attention to (iv) exploring the strengths and limitations of large-scale administrative, national and cross-national databases for international education policy research. I serve as a co-editor at Comparative Education Review and greatly enjoy working closely with doctoral students on diverse research projects across the world.

Industry Expertise (1)


Areas of Expertise (4)

Education Policy

Comparative and International Education

Development and Education

Economics and Education

Education (5)

Stanford University: Ph.D., Economics of Education 2006

University of Cambridge: M.Phil., Development Studies 2000

University of Mumbai: M.A., Economics 1998

St. Xavier's College: B.A., Economic 1996

University of Mumbai: B.A., Economics 1996

News (3)

The Jury Is Still Out

Outlook India  online


The phenomenon of private schools expanding at an annual rate of 35 per cent naturally raises one question: are they better than state-run ones? One might also ask if India needs more private schools than public (government) institutions. It’s about time to clear the air over available data-based evidence on whether private schools are worth their money.

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Nine Students Receive Fulbright Grants

MSU Today  online


The U.S. Department of Education recently awarded funding to two MSU doctoral students, Elizabeth Timbs and Alyssa Morley, to support their research under the fiscal year 2015 Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad program.

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MSU Study to Examine Education in Developing Countries

MSU Today  online


Michigan State University researcher Amita Chudgar is leading an effort to better understand why students in developing countries don't attend and stay in school. Chudgar received a $200,000 grant from the MacArthur Foundation to study the home and community life of youth in India, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

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Research Grants (4)

Partnership to Strengthen Innovation and Practice in Secondary Education

MacArthur Foundation $200,000

2015 Principal Investigator Partnership to Strengthen Innovation and Practice in Secondary Education Improving access and retention in secondary education in PSIPSE countries: What can we learn from existing large-scale resources?

Study of Teachers for Children Marginalized by Social Origin, Economic Status or Location

The United Nations Children’s Fund $228,859

2012 Principal Investigator with Thomas F. Luschei Co-PI

The impact of contract-teachers on student learning in developing countries: A multi-level, multi-country analysis

National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation $55,000

2010 Postdoctoral Fellowship

National Income, Income Inequality, and the Importance of Schools and Teachers: A hierarchical cross-national comparison

American Educational Research Association $35,000

2007 Co-Principal Investigator with Thomas F. Luschei

Journal Articles (7)

Factors associated with private-public school performance: Analysis of TALIS-PISA link data

International Journal of Educational Development

Marcos Delprato, Amita Chudgar

2018 We use measures of competitive pressure, administrative autonomy and staffing practices to explain the private-public performance difference in Australia, Portugal and Spain using the TALIS-PISA dataset. We employ OLS regression and counterfactual decomposition analysis on matched sub-samples. These school factors do not explain the overall private-public performance gap in the three countries except at the higher-end of the distribution. In other words, these factors appear to benefit only the high-performers in private schools in Australia and Spain. The results point to the potential limits of adopting private school practices for improving learning across the performance distribution especially for low-performing students.

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Reaching and Teaching Marginalized Children

Teacher Distribution in Developing Countries

Thomas F. Luschei, Amita Chudgar

2016 Despite the “worldwide revolution” in educational enrollment during the twentieth century, a clear division continues to separate marginalized children from their peers: the quality of their teachers. Ample evidence from the United States and growing cross-national evidence demonstrate that children who are poor, who come from ethnic or racial minority groups, who have less educated parents, or who live in rural areas have access to less qualified teachers than their more advantaged peers. Given considerable evidence of the importance of teachers for children’s academic success, the teacher quality division between more and less advantaged children may be as influential in determining these children’s futures as access to formal education was one hundred years ago. In this chapter, we introduce our rationale for studying teachers of marginalized children and we describe the objectives, contributions, and organization of the book.

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How are private school enrolment patterns changing across Indian districts with a growth in private school availability?

Oxford Review of Education

Amita Chudgar & Benjamin Creed

2016 The private school sector in India has grown significantly but the equity implications of this growth are not well understood. Traditionally private schools have been patronised by more educated and better-off families. Evidence also suggests a preference for enrolling male children in private schools. With the growth in the private school sector it is unclear whether these conventional patterns of private enrolment are changing.

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Understanding Teacher Distribution Cross-Nationally: Recent Empirical Evidence

Teachers College Record

Amita Chudgar & Thomas F. Luschei

2016 There are several important limitations of the existing international literature on the distribution of teachers across students, schools, and regions. Most importantly, the coverage of low-income countries is somewhat uneven, particularly in Africa.

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Factors affecting school participation in Turkey: an analysis of regional differences

A Journal of Comparative and International Education

Sedat Gumus & Amita Chudgar

2015 There are thousands of children who remain out of school at both primary and secondary levels in Turkey. The current disparities in access to education in Turkey are mostly driven by systematic regional differences and high gender inequalities. Although several existing studies have paid close attention to gender-based inequities in school access, none of the existing studies have attempted to systematically understand regional differences in schooling.

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Association between Contract Teachers and Student Learning in Five Francophone African Countries

Comparative Education Review

Amita Chudgar

2015 This article investigates the association between studying with a contract teacher and a student’s academic outcomes, using data from five Francophone African countries for two grade levels and two subjects. Based on this analysis, the evidence for or against this form of teacher hiring is inconclusive. The results indicate that these relationships vary depending on the country context, and the attributes of teacher demographics, working conditions, and preferences that are accounted for.

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The untapped promise of secondary data sets in international and comparative education policy research


Amita Chudgar, Thomas F Luschei

The objective of this commentary is to call attention to the feasibility and importance of large-scale, systematic, quantitative analysis in international and comparative education research. We contend that although many existing databases are under- or unutilized in quantitative international-comparative research, these resources present the opportunity for important, policy-relevant descriptive studies. We conclude the commentary with overarching observations about the strengths and limitations of such secondary data-based analysis.

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