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Access, Sorting, and Achievement: The Short-Run Effects of Free Primary Education in Kenya

Author

Listed:
  • Adrienne M. Lucas
  • Isaac M. Mbiti

Abstract

We examine the impact of the Kenyan Free Primary Education program on student participation, sorting, and achievement on the primary school exit examination. Exploiting variation in pre-program dropout rates between districts, we find that the program increased the number of students who completed primary school, spurred private school entry, and increased access for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. We argue that the program was welfare enhancing as it promoted educational access without substantially reducing the test scores of students who would have been in school in the absence of the program. (JEL H52, I21, I28, O15)

Suggested Citation

  • Adrienne M. Lucas & Isaac M. Mbiti, 2012. "Access, Sorting, and Achievement: The Short-Run Effects of Free Primary Education in Kenya," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 226-253, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:4:y:2012:i:4:p:226-53
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.4.4.226
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Paul Schultz, T., 2004. "School subsidies for the poor: evaluating the Mexican Progresa poverty program," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 199-250, June.
    2. Samer Al-Samarrai & Hassan Zaman, 2007. "Abolishing School Fees in Malawi: The Impact on Education Access and Equity," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(3), pages 359-375.
    3. Tessa Bold & Mwangi Kimenyi & Germano Mwabu & Justin Sandefur, 2011. "Does Abolishing Fees Reduce School Quality? Evidence from Kenya," CSAE Working Paper Series 2011-04, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    4. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-In-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275.
    5. Tesssa Bold, 2011. "Does Abolishing Fees Reduce School Quality? Evidence from Kenya," Economics Series Working Papers CSAE WPS/2011-04, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • 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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