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School decentralization: Helping the good get better, but leaving the poor behind

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  • Galiani, Sebastian
  • Gertler, Paul
  • Schargrodsky, Ernesto

Abstract

The decentralization of public services is a major feature of institutional innovation. The main argument in support of decentralization is that it brings decisions closer to the people, thereby alleviating information asymmetries and improving accountability. However, decentralization can also degrade service provision in poor communities that lack the ability to voice and defend their preferences. In this paper, we analyze the average and distributional effects of school decentralization on educational quality in Argentina. We find that decentralization had an overall positive impact on student test scores. The decentralization gains, however, did not reach the poor. Thus, although "bringing decisions closer to the people" may help the good get better, the already disadvantaged may not receive these benefits.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 92 (2008)
Issue (Month): 10-11 (October)
Pages: 2106-2120

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:92:y:2008:i:10-11:p:2106-2120

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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Keywords: Decentralization Education Inequality;

References

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  1. Jones, Mark P. & Sanguinetti, Pablo & Tommasi, Mariano, 2000. "Politics, institutions, and fiscal performance in a federal system: an analysis of the Argentine provinces," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 305-333, April.
  2. Sebastian Galiani & Ernesto Schargrodsky, 2001. "Evaluating the Impact of School Decentralization on Education Quality," Working Papers 41, Universidad de San Andres, Departamento de Economia, revised Dec 2001.
  3. Jimenez, Emmanuel & Sawada, Yasuyuki, 1999. "Do Community-Managed Schools Work? An Evaluation of El Salvador's EDUCO Program," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 13(3), pages 415-41, September.
  4. Pranab Bardhan & Dilip Mookherjee, 2006. "Pro-Poor Targeting and Accountability of Local Governments in West Bengal," Working Papers id:773, eSocialSciences.
  5. Miguel Urquiola, 2005. "Does School Choice Lead to Sorting? Evidence from Tiebout Variation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1310-1326, September.
  6. Lockwood, Ben, 1998. "Distributive Politics and the Costs of Centralization," CEPR Discussion Papers 2046, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Timothy Besley & Maitreesh Ghatak, 2003. "Incentives, Choice, and Accountability in the Provision of Public Services," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(2), pages 235-249, Summer.
  8. Heckman, James J & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Todd, Petra E, 1997. "Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator: Evidence from Evaluating a Job Training Programme," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(4), pages 605-54, October.
  9. Ritva Reinikka & Jakob Svensson, 2004. "Local Capture: Evidence From a Central Government Transfer Program in Uganda," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(2), pages 678-704, May.
  10. Pranab Bardhan & Dilip Mookherjee, 2006. "Decentralisation and Accountability in Infrastructure Delivery in Developing Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(508), pages 101-127, 01.
  11. Behrman, Jere R. & King, Elizabeth M., 2001. "Household schooling behaviors and decentralization," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 321-341, August.
  12. Hanushek, Eric A, 1986. "The Economics of Schooling: Production and Efficiency in Public Schools," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 1141-77, September.
  13. Bardhan, Pranab & Mookherjee, Dilip, 2005. "Decentralizing antipoverty program delivery in developing countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(4), pages 675-704, April.
  14. Faguet, Jean-Paul, 2004. "Does decentralization increase government responsiveness to local needs?: Evidence from Bolivia," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 867-893, March.
  15. Eskeland, Gunnar S. & Filmer, Deon, 2002. "Autonomy, participation, and learning in Argentine schools - findings andtheir implications for decentralization," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2766, The World Bank.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Tres puntos de partida para entender la calidad en la educaciĆ³n
    by Rosangela Bando in Hacia el desarrollo efectivo on 2012-06-27 11:58:28
  2. Development that Works: Three starting points to understand education quality
    by Rosangela Bando in Eval Central on 2012-06-27 11:58:50
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