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If you build it, will they come? School availability and school enrolment in 21 poor countries

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  • Deon Filmer

Abstract

Increasing the supply of schools is commonly advocated as a policy to promote schooling outputs and outcomes. Analysis of the relationship between the school enrolment of 6- to 14-year-olds and the distance to primary and secondary schools in 21 rural areas of low-income countries (including some of the poorest countries in Sub-Saharan Africa) suggests that the two are often statistically significantly related. However, the magnitudes of the associations are small: simulating large reductions in distance yields only small increases in average school participation, and only small reductions in within country inequality. There are a number of reasons why this result might hold. Average effects might mask heterogeneity in the impact by initial distance to the nearest school, as well as by economic status; the existing quality of schools might be low and the simulation assumes that this would be the average quality of new schools; and the cross-sectional nature of the data make it hard to rule out that schools might be placed where they are 'most needed' which would bias the results towards zero. Sensitivity analysis suggests none of these drive the result: the results suggest that expectations for large overall increases in enrolment as a result of school construction should be tempered. They also suggest areas for more research to guide policy: in particular on the interaction between school quantity and quality; the potential importance of demand side subsidies; and the cost effectiveness of different approaches.

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File URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00220380701384588
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Journal of Development Studies.

Volume (Year): 43 (2007)
Issue (Month): 5 ()
Pages: 901-928

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Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:43:y:2007:i:5:p:901-928

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  1. Christina Paxson & Norbert R. Schady, 2002. "The Allocation and Impact of Social Funds: Spending on School Infrastructure in Peru," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 16(2), pages 297-319, August.
  2. Esther Duflo, 2001. "Schooling and Labor Market Consequences of School Construction in Indonesia: Evidence from an Unusual Policy Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 795-813, September.
  3. Filmer, Deon & Pritchett, Lant, 1998. "Estimating wealth effects without expenditure data - or tears : with an application to educational enrollments in states of India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1994, The World Bank.
  4. Harold Alderman & Jere R. Behrman & Victor Lavy & Rekha Menon, 2001. "Child Health and School Enrollment: A Longitudinal Analysis," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 36(1), pages 185-205.
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  6. Foster, Andrew D & Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1996. "Technical Change and Human-Capital Returns and Investments: Evidence from the Green Revolution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 931-53, September.
  7. Antoine Bommier & Sylvie Lambert, 2000. "Education Demand and Age at School Enrollment in Tanzania," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(1), pages 177-203.
  8. Kathleen Burke & Kathleen Beegle, 2004. "Why Children Aren't Attending School: The Case of Northwestern Tanzania," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 13(2), pages 333-355, June.
  9. Pritchett, Lant & Filmer, Deon, 1999. "What education production functions really show: a positive theory of education expenditures," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 223-239, April.
  10. Filmer, Deon, 2000. "The structure of social disparities in education : gender and wealth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2268, The World Bank.
  11. Pitt, Mark M & Rosenzweig, Mark R & Gibbons, Donna M, 1993. "The Determinants and Consequences of the Placement of Government Programs in Indonesia," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 7(3), pages 319-48, September.
  12. Handa, Sudhanshu, 2002. "Raising primary school enrolment in developing countries: The relative importance of supply and demand," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 103-128, October.
  13. Lavy, Victor, 1996. "School supply constraints and children's educational outcomes in rural Ghana," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 291-314, December.
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Cited by:
  1. César P. Bouillon & Luis Tejerina, 2006. "Do We Know What Works?: A Systematic Review of Impact Evaluations of Social Programs in Latin America and the Caribbean," IDB Publications 23598, Inter-American Development Bank.
  2. Alkire, Sabina & Santos, María Emma, 2011. "Acute Multidimensional Poverty: A New Index for Developing Countries," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Berlin 2011 3, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
  3. Kenneth Harttgen & Stephan Klasen & Mark Misselhorn, 2010. "Pro-Poor Progress in Education in Developing Countries?," Review of Economics and Institutions, Università di Perugia, vol. 1(1).
  4. Orazem, Peter & King, Elizabeth M., 2008. "Schooling in Developing Countries: The Roles of Supply, Demand and Government Policy," Staff General Research Papers 12838, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  5. M. Niaz Asadullah & Uma Kambhampati & Florencia Lopez Boo, 2009. "Social Divisions in School Participation and Attainment in India: 1983-2004," Research Department Publications 4637, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  6. Dang, Hai-Anh & Sarr, Leopold & Asadullah, Niaz, 2011. "School Access, Resources, and Learning Outcomes: Evidence from a Non-formal School Program in Bangladesh," IZA Discussion Papers 5659, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Charles Kenny, 2010. "Learning about Schools in Development," Working Papers id:3386, eSocialSciences.
  8. Goensch, Iris, 2013. "Does the availability of secondary schools increase primary schooling? Empirical evidence from northern Senegal," Discussion Papers 63, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Center for international Development and Environmental Research (ZEU).

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