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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, in: T. Paul Schultz & John A. Strauss (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 61, pages 3895-3962, Elsevier.
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    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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cyril Chalendard, 2016. "Shifting-Profits through Tax Loopholes. Evidence from Ecuador," CESifo Working Paper Series 6240, CESifo.
    2. Ketel, Nadine & Linde, Jona & Oosterbeek, Hessel & van der Klaauw, Bas, 2014. "Tuition Fees as a Commitment Device," IZA Discussion Papers 7951, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Karlan, Dean S. & Linden, Leigh, 2014. "Loose Knots: Strong versus Weak Commitments to Save for Education in Uganda," Center Discussion Papers 162693, Yale University, Economic Growth Center.
    4. 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.
    5. De Walque,Damien B. C. M. & Valente,Christine, 2018. "Incentivizing school attendance in the presence of parent-child information frictions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 8476, The World Bank.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    School uniforms; School attendance; Ecuador;
    All these keywords.

    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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