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Enhancing the Public Provision of Education: The Economics of Education Reform in Developing Countries

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  • Rossana Patrón

    (Departamento de Economía, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de la República)

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    Abstract

    The paper argues that a comprehensive evaluation of education reform in particular in developing countries needs considering the triangle’ quality-quantity-equity of educational policies in the short, medium and long term in a broader context than the education system itself. There is no simple “recipe” for improving quality and internal and external efficiency in the public education system but some general results are found. Firstly, that the elasticity of the return of the reform is decreasing with the size of increased budget, making anti-economical the reliance on a reform consisting in more resources only to significantly improve the poor performance of the system. Indeed, very modest target set to improve the system performance, would require -without more sophisticated policies- huge increments in budget with a poor return. In this sense the paper investigate the capacity of focused policies to improve the productivity of the education expenditure, in particular toward basic education or the disadvantaged students. Secondly, the timing of the reform matters: most policies with very different return in the long term are almost undistinguishable by their short run merits, and policies that are more productive in the short term may be less convenient than competing alternatives in the longer term, so the actual policy may be influenced by the time horizon chosen by the policy makers. Thirdly, effects of the reform are accumulative, and to evaluate the reform by modest, in general, short run merits is myopic and may put the reform at risk of reversion or to deter future investment in the sector.

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    File URL: http://decon.edu.uy/publica/2006/1106.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Department of Economics - dECON in its series Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) with number 1106.

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    Length: 27 pages
    Date of creation: Oct 2006
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ude:wpaper:1106

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    Keywords: public education; developing countries; development of human resources;

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    References

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    1. Eric A. Hanushek, 2004. "Some Simple Analytics of School Quality," NBER Working Papers 10229, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Lopez, Ramon & Thomas, Vinod & Yan Wang, 1998. "Addressing the education puzzle : the distribution of education and economic reform," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2031, The World Bank.
    3. Temple, Jonathan, 2001. "Growth Effects of Education and Social Capital in the OECD Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 2875, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Heckman, James J. & Masterov, Dimitriy V., 2004. "Skill Policies for Scotland," IZA Discussion Papers 1444, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. John Matovu & Era Dabla-Norris, 2002. "Composition of Government Expenditures and Demand for Education in Developing Countries," IMF Working Papers 02/78, International Monetary Fund.
    6. Dessus, Sebastien, 2001. "Human capital and growth : the recovered role of education systems," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2632, The World Bank.
    7. Eric A. Hanushek, 1979. "Conceptual and Empirical Issues in the Estimation of Educational Production Functions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(3), pages 351-388.
    8. Salvatore, Dominick, 2004. "Growth and poverty in a globalizing world," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 543-551, June.
    9. Ben Jensen & Andrew Seltzer, 2000. "Neighbourhood and Family Effects in Educational Progress," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 33(1), pages 17-31.
    10. Corman, H., 2003. "The effects of state policies, individual characteristics, family characteristics, and neighbourhood characteristics on grade repetition in the United States," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 409-420, August.
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