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School Governance, Teacher Incentives, and Pupil-Teacher Ratios: Experimental Evidence from Kenyan Primary Schools

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  • Esther Duflo
  • Pascaline Dupas
  • Michael Kremer

Abstract

Some education policymakers focus on bringing down pupil-teacher ratios. Others argue that resources will have limited impact without systematic reforms to education governance, teacher incentives, and pedagogy. We examine a program under which Kenyan Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) at randomly selected schools were funded to hire an additional teacher on an annual contract renewable conditional on performance, outside normal Ministry of Education civil-service channels, at one-quarter normal compensation levels. For students randomly assigned to stay with existing classes, test scores did not increase significantly, despite a reduction in class size from 82 to 44 on average. In contrast, scores increased for students assigned to be taught by locally-hired contract teachers. One reason may be that contract teachers had low absence rates, while centrally-hired civil-service teachers in schools randomly assigned PTA contract teachers endogenously reduced their effort. Civil-service teachers also captured rents for their families, with approximately 1/3 of contract teacher positions going to relatives of existing teachers. A governance program that empowered parents within PTAs reduced both forms of capture. The best contract teachers obtained civil service jobs over time, and we estimate large potential dynamic benefits from supplementing a civil service system with locally-hired contract teachers brought in on a probationary basis and granted tenure conditional on performance.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17939.

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Date of creation: Mar 2012
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17939

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References

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  1. Das, Jishnu & Dercon, Stefan & Habyarimana, James & Krishnan, Pramila & Muralidharan, Karthik & Sundararaman, Venkatesh, 2011. "School inputs, household substitution, and test scores," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5629, The World Bank.
  2. Abhijit Banerjee & Shawn Cole & Esther Duflo & Leigh Linden, 2005. "Remedying Education: Evidence from Two Randomized Experiments in India," NBER Working Papers 11904, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Urquiola, Miguel & Verhoogen, Eric A., 2007. "Class Size and Sorting in Market Equilibrium: Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 6425, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  5. Esther Duflo & Pascaline Dupas & Michael Kremer, 2008. "Peer Effects, Teacher Incentives, and the Impact of Tracking: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation in Kenya," NBER Working Papers 14475, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Chetty, Raj & Friedman, John Norton & Hilger, Nathanial & Saez, Emmanuel & Schanzenbach, Dianne Whitmore & Yagan, Danny, 2011. "How Does Your Kindergarten Classroom Affect Your Earnings? Evidence from Project Star," Scholarly Articles 9639983, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
  7. Esther Duflo & Rema Hanna, 2005. "Monitoring Works: Getting Teachers to Come to School," Working Papers id:301, eSocialSciences.
  8. Becker, Gary S., 1971. "The Economics of Discrimination," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226041162.
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  11. Nazmul Chaudhury & Jeffrey Hammer & Michael Kremer & Karthik Muralidharan & F. Halsey Rogers, 2006. "Missing in Action: Teacher and Health Worker Absence in Developing Countries," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 91-116, Winter.
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Cited by:
  1. Sonja Fagernäs & Panu Pelkonen, 2012. "Preferences and skills of Indian public sector teachers," IZA Journal of Labor & Development, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 1-31, December.
  2. Tessa Bold & Mwangi Kimenyi & Germano Mwabu & Alice Ng'ang'a & Justin Sandefur, 2013. "Scaling-up What Works: Experimental Evidence on External Validity in Kenyan Education," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2013-04, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  3. Elizabeth Beasley & Elise Huillery, 2013. "School Resources, Behavioral Responses and School Quality: Short-Term Experimental Evidence from Niger," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/7o52iohb7k6, Sciences Po.
  4. 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).
  5. Ayako Wakano & Hiroyuki Yamada & Daichi Shimamoto, 2014. "Does the heterogeneity of project implementers affect the program participation of beneficiaries? : Evidence from rural Cambodia," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 14-21, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).
  6. Karthik Muralidharan & Venkatesh Sundararaman, 2013. "Contract Teachers: Experimental Evidence from India," NBER Working Papers 19440, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Cory Koedel & Mark Ehlert & Eric Parsons & Michael Podgursky & P. Brett Xiang, 2014. "Selecting Growth Measures for School and Teacher Evaluations," Working Papers 1401, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.

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