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

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  • Gunnar Eskeland
  • Deon Filmer

Abstract

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
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    Citations

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    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. 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.
    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. 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.

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