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Effects of School Quality on Student Achievement: Discontinuity Evidence from Kenya

  • Adrienne M. Lucas
  • Isaac M. Mbiti

The most desirable Kenyan secondary schools are elite government schools that admit the best students from across the country. We exploit the random variation generated by the centralized school admissions process in a regression discontinuity design to obtain causal estimates of the effects of attending one of these elite public schools on student progression and test scores in secondary school. Despite their reputations, we find little evidence of positive impacts on learning outcomes for students who attended these schools, suggesting that their sterling reputations reflect the selection of students rather than their ability to generate value-added test score gains.

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

Volume (Year): 6 (2014)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 234-63

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:6:y:2014:i:3:p:234-63
Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.6.3.234
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  1. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1999. "Using Maimonides' Rule To Estimate The Effect Of Class Size On Scholastic Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 533-575, May.
  2. Sa A. Bui & Steven G. Craig & Scott A. Imberman, 2011. "Is Gifted Education a Bright Idea? Assessing the Impact of Gifted and Talented Programs on Achievement," NBER Working Papers 17089, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. David J. Deming & Justine S. Hastings & Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger, 2011. "School Choice, School Quality and Postsecondary Attainment," NBER Working Papers 17438, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Yona Rubinstein & Sheetal Sekhri, 2011. "Do Public Colleges in Developing Countries Provide Better Education than Private ones? Evidence from General Education Sector in India," CEE Discussion Papers 0130, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  5. Hahn, Jinyong & Todd, Petra & Van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2001. "Identification and Estimation of Treatment Effects with a Regression-Discontinuity Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 201-09, January.
  6. C. Kirabo Jackson, 2010. "Do Students Benefit from Attending Better Schools? Evidence from Rule-based Student Assignments in Trinidad and Tobago," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(549), pages 1399-1429, December.
  7. Will Dobbie & Roland G. Fryer, Jr., 2011. "Exam High Schools and Academic Achievement: Evidence from New York City," NBER Working Papers 17286, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2009. "Regression Discontinuity Designs In Economics," Working Papers 1118, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  9. MacLeod, Bentley, 2009. "Anti-Lemons: School Reputation and Educational Quality," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt3rc708kd, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  10. Esther Duflo & Pascaline Dupas & Michael Kremer, 2008. "Peer Effects, Teacher Incentives, and the Impact of Tracking: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation in Kenya," NBER Working Papers 14475, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Abdulkadiro─člu, Atila & Angrist, Joshua & Pathak, Parag A., 2012. "The Elite Illusion: Achievement Effects at Boston and New York Exam Schools," IZA Discussion Papers 6790, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Julie Berry Cullen & Brian A Jacob & Steven Levitt, 2006. "The Effect of School Choice on Participants: Evidence from Randomized Lotteries," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(5), pages 1191-1230, 09.
  13. Johanne Boisjoly & Greg J. Duncan & Michael Kremer & Dan M. Levy & Jacque Eccles, 2006. "Empathy or Antipathy? The Impact of Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1890-1905, December.
  14. Cristian Pop-Eleches & Miguel Urquiola, 2011. "Going to a Better School: Effects and Behavioral Responses," NBER Working Papers 16886, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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