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Peer effects and textbooks in African primary education


  • Frölich, Markus
  • Michaelowa, Katharina


Textbooks could be a cheap and efficient input to primary school education in Africa. In this paper, we examine the effects of textbooks on student outcomes and separate between direct effects and externalities. Using the rich data set provided by the 'Program on the Analysis of Education Systems' (PASEC) for five Francophone, sub-Saharan African countries, this paper goes beyond the estimation of direct effects of textbooks on students' learning and focuses on peer effects resulting from textbooks owned by students' classmates. Using nonparametric estimation methods, we separate the direct effect of textbooks from their peer effect. The latter clearly dominates but depends upon the initial level of textbook availability.

Suggested Citation

  • Frölich, Markus & Michaelowa, Katharina, 2011. "Peer effects and textbooks in African primary education," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 474-486, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:18:y:2011:i:4:p:474-486

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Kuecken, Maria & Valfort, Marie-Anne, 2013. "When do textbooks matter for achievement? Evidence from African primary schools," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 119(3), pages 311-315.
    2. Ammermueller, Andreas, 2012. "Violence in European schools: A widespread phenomenon that matters for educational production," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(6), pages 908-922.
    3. Kengo, Igei & Takako, Yuki & Angela Demas, 2015. "Measuring Quality of Policies and Their Implementation for Better Learning: Adapting the World Bank’s SABER Tools School Autonomy and Accountability to Burkina Faso," Working Papers 109, JICA Research Institute.


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