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Political cycle in graduation rates


  • Christian Hubert Ebeke
  • Mireille Ntsama Etoundi


We show that exam success rates in Sub-Saharan Africa increase significantly in the months prior to national elections. Using a sample of more than 35 African countries, the study seeks to demonstrate that higher graduation rates prior to major national elections arise because of government manipulation. Evidence from a variety of robustness checks—controlling for observables, focussing on strictly exogenous elections, regression discontinuity estimates—confirms the central hypothesis: public officials deliberately relax graduation requirements to increase popular support for the incumbent in the months prior to national elections. We find that this result is stronger in a context of competitive elections. However, the results also show that good governance dampens the political cycle in graduation rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Hubert Ebeke & Mireille Ntsama Etoundi, 2016. "Political cycle in graduation rates," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(1), pages 89-107.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxecpp:v:68:y:2016:i:1:p:89-107.

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