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

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  • Tessa Bold
  • Mwangi Kimenyi
  • Germano Mwabu
  • Alice Ng'ang'a
  • Justin Sandefur

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 short-term 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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Paper provided by Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford in its series CSAE Working Paper Series with number 2013-04.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2013-04

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  1. Esther Duflo & Pascaline Dupas & Michael Kremer, 2012. "School Governance, Teacher Incentives, and Pupil-Teacher Ratios: Experimental Evidence from Kenyan Primary Schools," NBER Working Papers 17939, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Bourdon, Jean & Michaelowa, Katharina & Frölich, Markus, 2007. "Teacher shortages, teacher contracts and their impact on education in Africa," HWWI Research Papers 2-10, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI).
  3. Esther Duflo & Abhijit Banerjee & Shawn Cole & Leigh Linden, 2006. "Remedying Education: Evidence from Two Randomised Experiments in India," Working Papers id:360, eSocialSciences.
  4. Kazianga, Harounan & de Walque, Damien & Alderman, Harold, 2009. "Educational and health impacts of two school feeding schemes : evidence from a randomized trial in rural Burkina Faso," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4976, The World Bank.
  5. Macours, Karen & Schady, Norbert & Vakis, Renos, 2008. "Cash transfers, behavioral changes, and cognitive development in early childhood : evidence from a randomized experiment," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4759, The World Bank.
  6. Michael Kremer & Edward Miguel & Rebecca Thornton, 2009. "Incentives to Learn," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(3), pages 437-456, August.
  7. Joseph G. Altonji & Aloysius Siow, 1986. "Testing the Response of Consumption to Income Changes with (Noisy) PanelData," NBER Working Papers 2012, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Burde, Dana & Linden, Leigh L., 2012. "The Effect of Village-Based Schools: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial in Afghanistan," IZA Discussion Papers 6531, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Hunt Allcott, 2012. "Site Selection Bias in Program Evaluation," NBER Working Papers 18373, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Suresh de Mel & David McKenzie & Christopher Woodruff, 2008. "Returns to Capital in Microenterprises: Evidence from a Field Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(4), pages 1329-1372, November.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Bruhn, Miriam & McKenzie, David, 2008. "In pursuit of balance : randomization in practice in development field experiments," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4752, The World Bank.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. James J. Heckman, 1991. "Randomization and Social Policy Evaluation," NBER Technical Working Papers 0107, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Karthik Muralidharan & Venkatesh Sundararaman, 2013. "Contract Teachers: Experimental Evidence from India," NBER Working Papers 19440, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Woolcock, Michael, 2013. "Using case studies to explore the external validity of .complex. development interventions," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  2. Karthik Muralidharan & Venkatesh Sundararaman, 2013. "Contract Teachers: Experimental Evidence from India," NBER Working Papers 19440, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Lant Pritchett, Justin Sandefur, 2013. "Context Matters for Size: Why External Validity Claims and Development Practice Don't Mix-Working Paper 336," Working Papers 336, Center for Global Development.
  4. Hunt Allcott, 2012. "Site Selection Bias in Program Evaluation," NBER Working Papers 18373, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Michael Clemens, Gabriel Demombynes, 2013. "The New Transparency in Development Economics: Lessons from the Millennium Villages Controversy," Working Papers 342, Center for Global Development.

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