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Access, Sorting, and Achievement: The Short-Run Effects of Free Primary Education in Kenya

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  • Adrienne M. Lucas
  • Isaac M. Mbiti

Abstract

We examine the impact of the Kenyan Free Primary Education program on student participation, sorting, and achievement on the primary school exit examination. Exploiting variation in pre-program dropout rates between districts, we find that the program increased the number of students who completed primary school, spurred private school entry, and increased access for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. We argue that the program was welfare enhancing as it promoted educational access without substantially reducing the test scores of students who would have been in school in the absence of the program. (JEL H52, I21, I28, O15)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 4 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 226-53

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:4:y:2012:i:4:p:226-53

Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.4.4.226
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  1. Al-Samarrai, Samer & Zaman, Hassan, 2000. "Abolishing school fees in Malawi: the impact on education access and equity," MPRA Paper 130, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2006.
  2. Paul Schultz, T., 2004. "School subsidies for the poor: evaluating the Mexican Progresa poverty program," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 199-250, June.
  3. Tessa Bold & Mwangi Kimenyi & Germano Mwabu & Justin Sandefur, 2011. "Does Abolishing Fees Reduce School Quality? Evidence from Kenya," CSAE Working Paper Series 2011-04, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
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Cited by:
  1. Bold, Tessa & Kimenyi, Mwangi & Mwabu, Germano & Sandefur, Justin, 2013. "Can free provision reduce demand for public services ? evidence from Kenyan education," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6685, The World Bank.
  2. Kirdar, Murat G. & Dayioglu-Tayfur, Meltem & Koc, Ismet, 2014. "Does Longer Compulsory Education Equalize Schooling by Gender and Rural/Urban Residence?," IZA Discussion Papers 7939, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. MacLeod, W. Bentley & Urquiola, Miguel, 2012. "Competition and Educational Productivity: Incentives Writ Large," IZA Discussion Papers 7063, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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