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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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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number WPS/2013-04.

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Date of creation: 12 Mar 2013
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:wps/2013-04

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  1. de Mel, Suresh & McKenzie, David & Woodruff, Christopher, 2007. "Returns to capital in microenterprises : evidence from a field experiment," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4230, The World Bank.
  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. Karthik Muralidharan & Venkatesh Sundararaman, 2013. "Contract Teachers: Experimental Evidence from India," NBER Working Papers 19440, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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. Kremer, Michael Robert & Miguel, Edward A. & Thorton, Rebecca L, 2004. "Incentives to Learn," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkele qt9kc4p47q, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  6. Karen Macours & Norbert Schady & Renos Vakis, 2011. "Cash Transfers, Behavioral Changes, and Cognitive Development in Early Childhood: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," Working Papers, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group 2011-007, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  7. Baird, Sarah & Mcintosh, Craig & Ozler, Berk, 2010. "Cash or condition ? evidence from a cash transfer experiment," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5259, The World Bank.
  8. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Shawn Cole & Esther Duflo & Leigh Linden, 2007. "Remedying Education: Evidence from Two Randomized Experiments in India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1235-1264, 08.
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  11. 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.
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  13. Paxson, Christina & Schady, Norbert, 2007. "Does money matter ? The effects of cash transfers on child health and development in rural Ecuador," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4226, The World Bank.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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, Center for Global Development 271, Center for Global Development.
  17. James J. Heckman, 1991. "Randomization and Social Policy Evaluation," NBER Technical Working Papers 0107, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 259-267, 04/05.
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Cited by:
  1. Karthik Muralidharan & Venkatesh Sundararaman, 2013. "Contract Teachers: Experimental Evidence from India," NBER Working Papers 19440, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Michael Clemens, Gabriel Demombynes, 2013. "The New Transparency in Development Economics: Lessons from the Millennium Villages Controversy," Working Papers, Center for Global Development 342, Center for Global Development.
  3. Hunt Allcott, 2012. "Site Selection Bias in Program Evaluation," NBER Working Papers 18373, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Woolcock, Michael, 2013. "Using case studies to explore the external validity of .complex. development interventions," Working Paper Series, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER) UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  5. Lant Pritchett, Justin Sandefur, 2013. "Context Matters for Size: Why External Validity Claims and Development Practice Don't Mix-Working Paper 336," Working Papers, Center for Global Development 336, Center for Global Development.

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