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Scaling Up What Works: Experimental Evidence on External Validity in Kenyan Education

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  • Jenny Aker
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    Abstract

    The recent wave of randomized trials in development economics has provoked criticisms regarding external validity. We investigate two concerns—heterogeneity across beneficiaries and implementers—in a randomized trial of contract teachers in Kenyan schools. The intervention, previously shown to raise test scores in NGO-led trials in Western Kenya and parts of India, was replicated across all Kenyan provinces by an NGO and the government. Strong effects of shortterm contracts produced in controlled experimental settings are lost in weak public institutions: NGO implementation produces a positive effect on test scores across diverse contexts, while government implementation yields zero effect. The data suggests that the stark contrast in success between the government and NGO arm can be traced back to implementation constraints and political economy forces put in motion as the program went to scale.

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    File URL: http://www.cgdev.org/sites/default/files/Sandefur-et-al-Scaling-Up-What-Works.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Center for Global Development in its series Working Papers with number 321.

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    Length: 50 pages
    Date of creation: Mar 2013
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:cgd:wpaper:321

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    Web page: http://www.cgdev.org

    Related research

    Keywords: education; randomized control trials; Kenya.;

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    1. Karen Macours & Norbert Schady & Renos Vakis, 2012. "Cash Transfers, Behavioral Changes, and Cognitive Development in Early Childhood: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," IDB Publications 62638, Inter-American Development Bank.
    2. Esther Duflo & Abhijit Banerjee & Shawn Cole & Leigh Linden, 2006. "Remedying Education: Evidence from Two Randomised Experiments in India," Working Papers id:360, eSocialSciences.
    3. Michael Kremer & Edward Miguel & Rebecca Thornton, 2004. "Incentives to Learn," NBER Working Papers 10971, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Harounan Kazianga & Damien de Walque & Harold Alderman, 2009. "Educational and Health Impacts of Two School Feeding Schemes: Evidence from a Randomized Trial in Rural Burkina Faso," Economics Working Paper Series 0904, Oklahoma State University, Department of Economics and Legal Studies in Business.
    5. Karthik Muralidharan & Venkatesh Sundararaman, 2013. "Contract Teachers: Experimental Evidence from India," NBER Working Papers 19440, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Paul Atherton & Geeta Kingdon, 2010. "The relative effectiveness and costs of contract and regular teachers in India," CSAE Working Paper Series 2010-15, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    7. Dana Burde & Leigh L. Linden, 2012. "The Effect of Village-Based Schools: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial in Afghanistan," NBER Working Papers 18039, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Tessa Bold, Mwangi Kimenyi, Germano Mwabu, Justin Sandefur, 2011. " Why Did Abolishing Fees Not Increase Public School Enrollment in Kenya?- Working Paper 271," Working Papers 271, Center for Global Development.
    9. Ritva Reinikka & Jakob Svensson, 2005. "Fighting Corruption to Improve Schooling: Evidence from a Newspaper Campaign in Uganda," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 259-267, 04/05.
    10. Sarah Baird & Craig McIntosh & Berk �zler, 2011. "Cash or Condition? Evidence from a Cash Transfer Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(4), pages 1709-1753.
    11. Barrera-Osorio, Felipe & Linden, Leigh L., 2009. "The use and misuse of computers in education : evidence from a randomized experiment in Colombia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4836, The World Bank.
    12. Miriam Bruhn & David McKenzie, 2009. "In Pursuit of Balance: Randomization in Practice in Development Field Experiments," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(4), pages 200-232, October.
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