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Willing but Unable? Short-term Experimental Evidence on Parent Empowerment and School Quality

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  • Elizabeth Beasley
  • Elise Huillery

Abstract

Giving power over school management and spending decisions to communities has been a favored strategy to increase school quality, but its effectiveness may depend on local capacity. Grants are one form of such a transfer of power. Short-term responses of a grant to school committees in Niger show that parents increased participation and responsibility, but these efforts did not improve quality on average. Enrollment at the lowest grades increased and school resources improved, but teacher absenteeism increased, and there was no measured impact on test scores. An analysis of heterogeneous impacts and spending decisions provides additional insight into these dynamics. Overall, the findings suggest that programs based on parent participation should take levels of community capacity into account: even when communities are willing to work to improve their schools, they may not be able to do so. The short-term nature of the experiment reduces the extent to which the results can be generalized.

Suggested Citation

  • Elizabeth Beasley & Elise Huillery, 2017. "Willing but Unable? Short-term Experimental Evidence on Parent Empowerment and School Quality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 31(2), pages 531-552.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:wbecrv:v:31:y:2017:i:2:p:531-552.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/wber/lhv064
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gérard Lassibille & Jee-Peng Tan & Cornelia Jesse & Trang Van Nguyen, 2010. "Managing for Results in Primary Education in Madagascar: Evaluating the Impact of Selected Workflow Interventions," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 24(2), pages 303-329, August.
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    7. Menno Pradhan & Daniel Suryadarma & Amanda Beatty & Maisy Wong & Arya Gaduh & Armida Alisjahbana & Rima Prama Artha, 2014. "Improving Educational Quality through Enhancing Community Participation: Results from a Randomized Field Experiment in Indonesia," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 105-126, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kozuka, Eiji & Sawada, Yasuyuki & Todo, Yasuyuki, 2016. "How Can Community Participation Improve Educational Outcomes? Experimental Evidence from a School-Based Management Project in Burkina Faso," Working Papers 112, JICA Research Institute.
    2. Lee Crawfurd, 2017. "School Management and Public–Private Partnerships in Uganda," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 26(5), pages 539-560.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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