IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Autonomy, Participation and Learning: Findings from Argentine Schools, and Implications for Decentralization


  • Gunnar Eskeland
  • Deon Filmer


Student learning can be raised by school autonomy and parental participation through separate channels, but this paper suggests a mutually supportive effect. Increased school autonomy increases the rent that can be distributed among stakeholders at the school, while institutions for parental participation (such as a school board) empower parents to command a higher share of this surplus, for instance through student learning. Results from a sample of sixth-grade and seventh-grade Argentine students and their schools suggest that autonomy and participation raise student test scores in such a multiplicative way. For subsamples of children from poor households, children of uneducated mothers, schools with low mean family economic status, and public schools, the results are the same or stronger. The data available do not allow the potential endogeneity of autonomy and participation to be ruled out with certainty. If decentralization moves responsibility from the center toward local level governments, the results are relevant if this raises autonomy and participation in schools. More generally, the results are relevant for efforts to moving decision-making towards users and the local community. More importantly, perhaps, we illustrate the importance of checking who is empowered when higher-level strings are loosened.

Suggested Citation

  • Gunnar Eskeland & Deon Filmer, 2007. "Autonomy, Participation and Learning: Findings from Argentine Schools, and Implications for Decentralization," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(1), pages 103-127.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:edecon:v:15:y:2007:i:1:p:103-127 DOI: 10.1080/09645290601133951

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Eric A. Hanushek, 2004. "What if there are no 'best practices'?," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 51(2), pages 156-172, May.
    2. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2002. "Identity and Schooling: Some Lessons for the Economics of Education," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1167-1201, December.
    3. David Mayston, "undated". "Educational Attainment and Resource Use: Mystery or Econometric Misspecification," Discussion Papers 96/17, Department of Economics, University of York.
    4. Rosalind Levacic & Anna Vignoles, 2002. "Researching the Links between School Resources and Student Outcomes in the UK: A Review of Issues and Evidence," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(3), pages 313-331.
    5. Brasington, D. M., 2003. "The supply of public school quality," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 367-377, August.
    6. Hanushek, Eric A, 1986. "The Economics of Schooling: Production and Efficiency in Public Schools," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 1141-1177, September.
    7. Dewey, James & Husted, Thomas A. & Kenny, Lawrence W., 1999. "The ineffectiveness of school inputs: a product of misspecification?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 27-45, February.
    8. Mark C. Berger & Eugenia F. Toma, 1994. "Variation in state education policies and effects on student performance," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(3), pages 477-491.
    9. Hanushek, E.A.omson, W., 1996. "Assessing the Effects of School Resources on Student Performance : An Update," RCER Working Papers 424, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Naper, Linn Renée, 2010. "Teacher hiring practices and educational efficiency," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 658-668, August.
    2. Channa, Anila & Faguet, Jean-Paul, 2016. "Decentralization of health and education in developing countries: a quality-adjusted review of the empirical literature," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 68719, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Iftikhar Ahmad, 2016. "Assessing the Effects of Fiscal Decentralization on the Education Sector: A Cross-Country Analysis," Lahore Journal of Economics, Department of Economics, The Lahore School of Economics, vol. 21(2), pages 53-96, July-Dec.
    4. Josep-Oriol Escardíbul & Nehal Helmy, 2014. "School Autonomy Impact on the Quality of Education: The case of Tunisia and Jordan," Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación volume 9,in: Adela García Aracil & Isabel Neira Gómez (ed.), Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación 9, edition 1, volume 9, chapter 26, pages 501-514 Asociación de Economía de la Educación.
    5. Josep-Oriol Escardíbul & Nehal Helmy, 2015. "Decentralisation and school autonomy impact on the quality of education: the case of two MENA countries," Working Papers 2015/33, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    6. Anila Channa & Jean-Paul Faguet, 2016. "Decentralization of Health and Education in Developing Countries: A Quality-Adjusted Review of the Empirical Literature," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 31(2), pages 199-241.
    7. Paolo Ghinetti & Simone Moriconi, 2013. "The Wage Return to Graduate in Italian Small-town Universities," SCIENZE REGIONALI, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2013(1), pages 39-53.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:edecon:v:15:y:2007:i:1:p:103-127. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Chris Longhurst). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.