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

  • Adrienne M. Lucas
  • Isaac M. Mbiti

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)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 4 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 226-53

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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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  1. 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.
  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. 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.
  4. 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.
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