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If you build it, will they come? School availability and school enrolment in 21 poor countries

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  • Deon Filmer

Abstract

Increasing the supply of schools is commonly advocated as a policy to promote schooling outputs and outcomes. Analysis of the relationship between the school enrolment of 6- to 14-year-olds and the distance to primary and secondary schools in 21 rural areas of low-income countries (including some of the poorest countries in Sub-Saharan Africa) suggests that the two are often statistically significantly related. However, the magnitudes of the associations are small: simulating large reductions in distance yields only small increases in average school participation, and only small reductions in within country inequality. There are a number of reasons why this result might hold. Average effects might mask heterogeneity in the impact by initial distance to the nearest school, as well as by economic status; the existing quality of schools might be low and the simulation assumes that this would be the average quality of new schools; and the cross-sectional nature of the data make it hard to rule out that schools might be placed where they are 'most needed' which would bias the results towards zero. Sensitivity analysis suggests none of these drive the result: the results suggest that expectations for large overall increases in enrolment as a result of school construction should be tempered. They also suggest areas for more research to guide policy: in particular on the interaction between school quantity and quality; the potential importance of demand side subsidies; and the cost effectiveness of different approaches.

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  • Deon Filmer, 2007. "If you build it, will they come? School availability and school enrolment in 21 poor countries," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(5), pages 901-928.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:43:y:2007:i:5:p:901-928
    DOI: 10.1080/00220380701384588
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    Cited by:

    1. Kathryn Yount & John Maluccio & Jere Behrman & John Hoddinott & Alexis Murphy & Usha Ramakrishnan, 2013. "Parental Resources, Schooling Achievements, and Gender Schooling Gaps: Evidence of Change over 25 years in Rural Guatemala," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 32(4), pages 495-528, August.
    2. Sabina Alkire and Maria Emma Santos, "undated". "Acute Multidimensional Poverty: A New Index for Developing Countries," OPHI Working Papers ophiwp038, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
    3. Orazem, Peter F. & King, Elizabeth M., 2008. "Schooling in Developing Countries: The Roles of Supply, Demand and Government Policy," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier.
    4. Harounan Kazianga & Leigh Linden & Ali Protik & Matt Sloan, 2016. "The Medium-Term Impacts of Girl-Friendly Schools: Seven-Year Evidence from School Construction in Burkina Faso," Development Working Papers 406, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano, revised 11 Nov 2016.
    5. M. Niaz Asadullah & Uma Kambhampati & Florencia Lopez Boo, 2014. "Social divisions in school participation and attainment in India: 1983–2004," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(4), pages 869-893.
    6. Jessica Heckert, 2015. "New perspective on youth migration," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 33(27), pages 765-800, October.
    7. Clemens, Michael A. & Kenny, Charles J. & Moss, Todd J., 2007. "The Trouble with the MDGs: Confronting Expectations of Aid and Development Success," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 735-751, May.
    8. Burde, Dana & Linden, Leigh L., 2012. "The Effect of Village-Based Schools: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial in Afghanistan," IZA Discussion Papers 6531, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Kenneth Harttgen & Stephan Klasen & Mark Misselhorn, 2010. "Pro-Poor Progress in Education in Developing Countries?," Review of Economics and Institutions, Università di Perugia, vol. 1(1).
    10. Goensch, Iris, 2013. "Does the availability of secondary schools increase primary schooling? Empirical evidence from northern Senegal," Discussion Papers 63, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Center for international Development and Environmental Research (ZEU).
    11. Mukhopadhyay, Abhiroop & Sahoo, Soham, 2016. "Does access to secondary education affect primary schooling? Evidence from India," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 124-142.
    12. Dang, Hai-Anh & Sarr, Leopold & Asadullah, Niaz, 2011. "School Access, Resources, and Learning Outcomes: Evidence from a Non-formal School Program in Bangladesh," IZA Discussion Papers 5659, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Dhanaraj, Sowmya, 2016. "Effects of parental health shocks on children’s schooling: Evidence from Andhra Pradesh, India," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 115-125.
    14. K.S. Apsara Mendis & Masaru Ichihashi, 2014. "Impact of Government Spending on Education and Health in Sri Lanka : A Provincial Level Analysis," IDEC DP2 Series 4-8, Hiroshima University, Graduate School for International Development and Cooperation (IDEC).
    15. César P. Bouillon & Luis Tejerina, 2006. "Do We Know What Works?: A Systematic Review of Impact Evaluations of Social Programs in Latin America and the Caribbean," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 80443, Inter-American Development Bank.
    16. World Bank & Observatoire National de la Pauvreté et de l’Exclusion Sociale, 2014. "Investing in People to Fight Poverty in Haiti : Reflections for Evidence-based Policy Making
      [Haïti - Investir dans l’humain pour combattre la pauvreté : Éléments de réflexions pour la prise de déc
      ," World Bank Other Operational Studies 21519, The World Bank.
    17. Li, Li & Liu, Haoming, 2014. "Primary school availability and middle school education in rural China," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 24-40.

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