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Teacher Shocks and Student Learning: Evidence from Zambia

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  • Stefan Dercon

Abstract

We examine the effect of shocks to teacher inputs on child performance in school. We start with a household optimization framework where parents spend optimally in response to teacher and other school inputs. This helps to isolate the impact of teachers from other inputs. As a proxy measure for these shocks, we use teacher absenteeism during a 30 day period. Shocks to teacher inputs have a significant impact on learning gains. In a sample of students who remained with the same teacher over the two years for which we have test score data, shocks associated with a typical episode of absence lead to a decline of 20-30 percent in learning gains during the year. The size and precision of these estimates is identical for both Mathematics and English. We document that health problems account for over 60 percent of time spent in absence - this is not surprising in a country deeply affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Tackling health problems of teachers and/or reducing the impact of absences by increasing the public provision of teachers (allowing for sustitute teachers) is likely to have positive impacts on learning.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number WPS/2004-26.

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Date of creation: 01 Aug 2004
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:wps/2004-26

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  1. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1998. "Does Teacher Training Affect Pupil Learning? Evidence from Matched Comparisons in Jerusalem Public Schools," NBER Working Papers 6781, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. de Janvry, Alain & Finan, Frederico & Sadoulet, Elisabeth, 2004. "Can Conditional Cash Transfers Serve as Safety Nets to Keep Children at School and Out of the Labor Market?," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt5fp0g5p2, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
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  4. Paul Bennell, 2005. "The Impact of the AIDS Epidemic on Teachers in Sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(3), pages 440-466.
  5. Stefan Dercon, 2004. "When Can School Inputs Improve Test Scores?," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2004-25, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  6. Jacoby, Hanan G & Skoufias, Emmanuel, 1997. "Risk, Financial Markets, and Human Capital in a Developing Country," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(3), pages 311-35, July.
  7. Hanushek, Eric A, 1986. "The Economics of Schooling: Production and Efficiency in Public Schools," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 1141-77, September.
  8. Petra E. Todd & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2003. "On The Specification and Estimation of The Production Function for Cognitive Achievement," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(485), pages F3-F33, February.
  9. Stephen L. Jacobson, 1989. "The Effects of Pay Incentives on Teacher Absenteeism," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(2), pages 280-286.
  10. Clive Bell & Shantayanan Devarajan & Hans Gersbach, 2003. "The long-run economic costs of AIDS : theory and an application to South Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3152, The World Bank.
  11. Foster, Andrew D, 1995. "Prices, Credit Markets and Child Growth in Low-Income Rural Areas," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(430), pages 551-70, May.
  12. Deaton, Angus, 1992. "Understanding Consumption," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288244.
  13. Steven G. Rivkin & Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain, 2005. "Teachers, Schools, and Academic Achievement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(2), pages 417-458, 03.
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  15. Chaudhury, Nazmul & Hammer, Jeffrey S., 2003. "Ghost doctors - absenteeism in Bangladeshi health facilities," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3065, The World Bank.
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Cited by:
  1. Elbers, Chris & Gunning, Jan Willem, 2013. "Evaluation of development programs : randomized controlled trials or regressions ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6587, The World Bank.
  2. Chrysanthi Balomenou & Konstantinos kolovos, 2013. "Universities´ funding in the the current global financial crisis: Threat or opportunity for the implementation of Triple Helix Theory?," ERSA conference papers ersa13p839, European Regional Science Association.
  3. 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.
  4. Chris Elbers & Jan Willem Gunning, 2012. "Evaluation of Development Programs: Using Regressions to assess the Impact of Complex Interventions," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 12-081/2, Tinbergen Institute.
  5. McKenzie, David, 2012. "Beyond baseline and follow-up: The case for more T in experiments," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(2), pages 210-221.
  6. Dridi, Mohamed, 2013. "Corruption dans le Secteur d'Education : Une Typologie de Conséquences
    [Corruption Within Education Sector : A Typology of Consequences]
    ," MPRA Paper 46874, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Rogers, F. Halsey & Vegas, Emiliana, 2009. "No more cutting class ? reducing teacher absence and providing incentives for performance," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4847, The World Bank.
  8. Banerjee, Ritwik & King, Elizabeth M. & Orazem, Peter F. & Paterno, Elizabeth M., 2012. "Student and teacher attendance: The role of shared goods in reducing absenteeism," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 563-574.
  9. Das, Jishnu & Pandey, Priyanka & Zajonc, Tristan, 2006. "Learning levels and gaps in Pakistan," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4067, The World Bank.
  10. Chris Elbers & Jan Willem Gunning, 2009. "Evaluation of Development Policy: Treatment versus Program Effects," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 09-073/2, Tinbergen Institute.
  11. Dang, Hai-Anh H. & King, Elizabeth M., 2013. "Incentives and teacher effort: further evidence from a developing country," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6694, The World Bank.
  12. Daniel Suryadarma & Asep Suryahadi & Sudarno Sumarto & F. Halsey Rogers, 2006. "Improving Student Performance in Public Primary Schools in Developing Countries: Evidence from Indonesia," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(4), pages 401-429.
  13. Chris Elbers & Jan Willem Gunning, 2012. "Evaluation of Development Programs: Using Regressions to assess the Impact of Complex Interventions," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 12-081/2, Tinbergen Institute.

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