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Can provision of free school uniforms harm attendance? Evidence from Ecuador

Author

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  • Hidalgo, Diana
  • Onofa, Mercedes
  • Oosterbeek, Hessel
  • Ponce, Juan

Abstract

To raise school participation, many programs in developing countries eliminate or reduce private contributions to education. Using data from a randomized experiment in Ecuador, we ironically find that announcing a free school uniform program had a negative impact on attendance. The school uniforms were distributed in only 63% of the schools that were told that they would get them, thus this negative impact could have been generated by creating false expectations of free distribution, or also by a sunk cost effect on those who did actually receive the uniforms.

Suggested Citation

  • Hidalgo, Diana & Onofa, Mercedes & Oosterbeek, Hessel & Ponce, Juan, 2013. "Can provision of free school uniforms harm attendance? Evidence from Ecuador," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 43-51.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:103:y:2013:i:c:p:43-51
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2012.12.006
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jessica Cohen & Pascaline Dupas, 2008. "Free Distribution or Cost-Sharing? Evidence from a Malaria Prevention Experiment," NBER Working Papers 14406, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Duflo, Esther & Glennerster, Rachel & Kremer, Michael, 2008. "Using Randomization in Development Economics Research: A Toolkit," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier.
    3. Nava Ashraf & James Berry & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2010. "Can Higher Prices Stimulate Product Use? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Zambia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2383-2413, December.
    4. Hanan G. Jacoby, 2002. "Is There an Intrahousehold "Flypaper Effect"? Evidence From a School Feeding Programme," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(476), pages 196-221, January.
    5. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 2002. "The Effect of High School Matriculation Awards: Evidence from Randomized Trials," NBER Working Papers 9389, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Oosterbeek, Hessel & Ponce, Juan & Schady, Norbert, 2008. "The impact of cash transfers on school enrollment : evidence from Ecuador," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4645, The World Bank.
    7. Jessica Cohen & Pascaline Dupas, 2010. "Free Distribution or Cost-Sharing? Evidence from a Randomized Malaria Prevention Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 1-45.
    8. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-475, March.
    9. Abadie, Alberto, 2003. "Semiparametric instrumental variable estimation of treatment response models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 113(2), pages 231-263, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jose Rosero, 2012. "The ABC of Housing Strategies: Are Housing Assistance Programs Effective in Enhancing Children's Well Being?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 12-074/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    2. Dean Karlan & Leigh Linden, 2014. "Loose Knots: Strong versus Weak Commitments to Save for Education in Uganda," Working Papers 1037, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
    3. Cyril Chalendard, 2016. "Shifting-Profits through Tax Loopholes. Evidence from Ecuador," CESifo Working Paper Series 6240, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Ketel, Nadine & Linde, Jona & Oosterbeek, Hessel & van der Klaauw, Bas, 2014. "Tuition Fees as a Commitment Device," IZA Discussion Papers 7951, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    School uniforms; School attendance; Ecuador;

    JEL classification:

    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education

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