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Corrupting Learning: Evidence from Missing Federal Education Funds in Brazil

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  • Claudio Ferraz
  • Frederico Finan
  • Diana B. Moreira

Abstract

This paper examines if money matters in education by looking at whether missing resources due to corruption affect student outcomes. We use data from the auditing of Brazil’s local governments to construct objective measures of corruption involving educational block grants transferred from the central government to municipalities. Using variation in the incidence of corruption across municipalities and controlling for student, school, and municipal characteristics, we find a significant negative association between corruption and the school performance of primary school students. Students residing in municipalities where corruption in education was detected score 0.35 standard deviations less on standardized tests, and have significantly higher dropout and failure rates. Using a rich dataset of school infrastructure and teacher and principal questionnaires, we also find that school inputs such as computer labs, teaching supplies, and teacher training are reduced in the presence of corruption. Overall, our findings suggest that in environments where basic schooling resources are lacking, money does matter for student achievement.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18150.

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Date of creation: Jun 2012
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18150

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  1. Corrupción y educación: tres historias
    by Francisco Mejía in Hacia el desarrollo efectivo on 2011-05-10 15:00:49
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Cited by:
  1. Julia A. Barde & Juliana Walkiewicz, 2014. "Access to Piped Water and Human Capital Formation - Evidence from Brazilian Primary Schools," Discussion Paper Series, Department of International Economic Policy, University of Freiburg 28, Department of International Economic Policy, University of Freiburg, revised Jul 2014.
  2. Juan Botero & Alejandro Ponce & Andrei Shleifer, 2013. "Education, Complaints, and Accountability," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56(4), pages 959 - 996.
  3. Niehaus, Paul & Sukhtankar, Sandip, 2013. "The marginal rate of corruption in public programs: Evidence from India," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 52-64.

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