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Improving Education in the Developing World: What Have We Learned from Randomized Evaluations?

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  • Michael Kremer
  • Alaka Holla

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138
    Innovations for Poverty Action, New Haven, Connecticut 06511)

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    Abstract

    Across a range of contexts, reductions in education costs and provision of subsidies can boost school participation, often dramatically. Decisions to attend school seem subject to peer effects and time-inconsistent preferences. Merit scholarships, school health programs, and information about returns to education can all cost-effectively spur school participation. However, distortions in education systems, such as weak teacher incentives and eliteoriented curricula, undermine learning in school and much of the impact of increasing existing educational spending. Pedagogical innovations designed to address these distortions (such as technology-assisted instruction, remedial education, and tracking by achievement) can raise test scores at a low cost. Merely informing parents about school conditions seems insufficient to improve teacher incentives, and evidence on merit pay is mixed, but hiring teachers locally on short-term contracts can save money and improve educational outcomes. School vouchers can cost-effectively increase both school participation and learning.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Annual Reviews in its journal Annual Review of Economics.

    Volume (Year): 1 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 1 (05)
    Pages: 513-545

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    Handle: RePEc:anr:reveco:v:1:y:2009:p:513-545

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    Related research

    Keywords: school attendance; peer effects; school quality; teacher incentives;

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    Cited by:
    1. Rosenzweig, Mark R., 2010. "Microeconomic Approaches to Development: Schooling, Learning, and Growth," Working Papers 79, Yale University, Department of Economics.
    2. Richard J. Murnane & Alejandro J. Ganimian, 2014. "Improving Educational Outcomes in Developing Countries: Lessons from Rigorous Evaluations," NBER Working Papers 20284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Rodrik, Dani, 2010. "Diagnostics Before Prescription," Scholarly Articles 8057678, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
    4. Dieye, Rokhaya & Djebbari, Habiba & Barrera-Osorio, Felipe, 2014. "Accounting for Peer Effects in Treatment Response," IZA Discussion Papers 8340, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Maria Kuecken & Marie-Anne Valfort, 2013. "When do textbooks matter for achievement? Evidence from African primary schools," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00828418, HAL.
    6. Peter Boone & Ila Fazzio & Kameshwari Jandhyala & Chitra Jayanty & Gangadhar Jayanty & Simon Johnson & Vimala Ramachandrin & Filipa Silva & Zhaoguo Zhan, 2013. "The Surprisingly Dire Situation of Children's Education in Rural West Africa: Results from the CREO Study in Guinea-Bissau," CEP Discussion Papers dp1201, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    7. Rokhaya Dieye & Habiba Djebbari & Felipe Barrera-Osorio, 2014. "Accounting for Peer Effects in Treatment Response," AMSE Working Papers 1435, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, Marseille, France, revised Jul 2014.
    8. Peter Boone & Ila Fazzio & Kameshwari Jandhyala & Chitra Jayanty & Gangadhar Jayanty & Simon Johnson & Vimala Ramachandrin & Filipa Silva & Zhaoguo Zhan, 2013. "The surprisingly dire situation of children's education in rural west Africa: results from the CREO study in Guinea-Bissau," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 51535, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    9. Barbara Bruns & Deon Filmer & Harry Anthony Patrinos, 2011. "Making Schools Work : New Evidence on Accountability Reforms," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2270, July.
    10. Abigail Barr & Andrew Zeitlin, 2011. "Conflict of interest as a barrier to local accountability," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2011-13, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    11. Kuecken, Maria & Valfort, Marie-Anne, 2013. "When do textbooks matter for achievement? Evidence from African primary schools," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 119(3), pages 311-315.
    12. Fagernäs, Sonja & Pelkonen, Panu, 2014. "Politics Before Pupils? Electoral Cycles and School Resources in India," IZA Discussion Papers 8366, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Peter Boone & Ila Fazzio & Kameshwari Jandhyala & Chitra Jayanty & Gangadhar Jayanty & Simon Johnson & Vimala Ramachandrin & Filipa Silva & Zhaoguo Zhan, 2014. "The Surprisingly Dire Situation of Children's Education in Rural West Africa," NBER Chapters, in: African Successes: Human Capital National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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