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Long-Term Effects of Primary Education Expansion on Educational Achievement: Evidence from Lesotho


  • Ramaele Moshoeshoe


Using university administrative data, I examine the long-term effects of Lesotho’s primary education expansion programme on educational achievement. This programme, known as the free-primary education (FPE) programme, was phased-in grade by grade, beginning with grade 1 in 2000. Thus, the programme implementation varied by time and grade cohort: all students who began schooling in 1999 or earlier paid fees in all primary school years, while those who entered grade 1 in 2000 or later did not. I exploit this variation to estimate this policy’s long-term average treatment effect using a semiparametric difference-in-differences strategy. The results indicate that the FPE programme plausibly increased the academic performance of students who progressed to university.

Suggested Citation

  • Ramaele Moshoeshoe, 2023. "Long-Term Effects of Primary Education Expansion on Educational Achievement: Evidence from Lesotho," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 149, pages 3-38.
  • Handle: RePEc:adr:anecst:y:2023:i:149:p:3-38
    DOI: 10.2307/48718078

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    More about this item


    Free Primary Education; Educational achievement; Long-term effects; Lesotho.;
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    JEL classification:

    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration


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