IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/uwp/jhriss/v53y2018i3p553-578.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Africa’s Skill Tragedy: Does Teachers’ Lack of Knowledge Lead to Low Student Performance?

Author

Listed:
  • Jan Bietenbeck
  • Marc Piopiunik
  • Simon Wiederhold

Abstract

We study the importance of teacher subject knowledge for student performance in Sub-Saharan Africa using unique international assessment data for sixth-grade students and their teachers. To circumvent bias due to unobserved student heterogeneity, we exploit variation within students across math and reading. Teacher subject knowledge has a modest impact on student performance. Exploiting vast cross-country differences in economic development, we find that teacher knowledge is effective only in more developed African countries. Results are robust to adding teacher fixed effects and accounting for potential sorting based on subject-specific factors.

Suggested Citation

  • Jan Bietenbeck & Marc Piopiunik & Simon Wiederhold, 2018. "Africa’s Skill Tragedy: Does Teachers’ Lack of Knowledge Lead to Low Student Performance?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 53(3), pages 553-578.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:53:y:2018:i:3:p:553-578
    Note: DOI: 10.3368/jhr.53.3.0616-8002R1
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://jhr.uwpress.org/cgi/reprint/53/3/553
    Download Restriction: A subscripton is required to access pdf files. Pay per article is available.

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

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Kuecken, Maria & Valfort, Marie-Anne, 2013. "When do textbooks matter for achievement? Evidence from African primary schools," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 119(3), pages 311-315.
    2. Eric Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2012. "Do better schools lead to more growth? Cognitive skills, economic outcomes, and causation," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 267-321, December.
    3. Nazmul Chaudhury & Jeffrey Hammer & Michael Kremer & Karthik Muralidharan & F. Halsey Rogers, 2006. "Missing in Action: Teacher and Health Worker Absence in Developing Countries," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 91-116, Winter.
    4. Azam, Mehtabul & Kingdon, Geeta Gandhi, 2015. "Assessing teacher quality in India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 74-83.
    5. Esther Duflo & Rema Hanna & Stephen P. Ryan, 2012. "Incentives Work: Getting Teachers to Come to School," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(4), pages 1241-1278, June.
    6. Duflo, Esther & Dupas, Pascaline & Kremer, Michael, 2015. "School governance, teacher incentives, and pupil–teacher ratios: Experimental evidence from Kenyan primary schools," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 92-110.
    7. Alejandro J. Ganimian & Richard J. Murnane, 2014. "Improving Educational Outcomes in Developing Countries: Lessons from Rigorous Impact Evaluations," NBER Working Papers 20284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Metzler, Johannes & Woessmann, Ludger, 2012. "The impact of teacher subject knowledge on student achievement: Evidence from within-teacher within-student variation," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(2), pages 486-496.
    9. repec:wly:econjl:v:125:y:2015:i:588:p:f397-f424 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Sylvie Moulin & Michael Kremer & Paul Glewwe, 2009. "Many Children Left Behind? Textbooks and Test Scores in Kenya," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 112-135, January.
    11. Sabarwal, Shwetlena & Evans, David K. & Marshak, Anastasia, 2014. "The permanent input hypothesis : the case of textbooks and (no) student learning in Sierra Leone," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7021, The World Bank.
    12. Thomas S. Dee, 2005. "A Teacher Like Me: Does Race, Ethnicity, or Gender Matter?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 158-165, May.
    13. Thomas S. Dee, 2007. "Teachers and the Gender Gaps in Student Achievement," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(3).
    14. Hanushek, Eric A. & Piopiunik, Marc & Wiederhold, Simon, 2014. "The Value of Smarter Teachers: International Evidence on Teacher Cognitive Skills and Student Performance," Discussion Papers in Economics 22032, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    15. Jonah E. Rockoff & Brian A. Jacob & Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger, 2011. "Can You Recognize an Effective Teacher When You Recruit One?," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 6(1), pages 43-74, January.
    16. 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.
    17. Dan Goldhaber, 2007. "Everyone’s Doing It, But What Does Teacher Testing Tell Us About Teacher Effectiveness?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(4).
    18. Marshall, Jeffery H., 2009. "School quality and learning gains in rural Guatemala," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 207-216, April.
    19. Christopher F. Hein & Rebecca Allen, 2013. "Teacher Quality in Sub-Saharan Africa: Pupil-fixed effects estimates for twelve countries," DoQSS Working Papers 13-08, Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
    20. Carneiro, Pedro & Koussihouèdé, Oswald & Lahire, Nathalie & Meghir, Costas & Mommaerts, Corina, 2015. "Decentralizing Education Resources: School Grants in Senegal," CEPR Discussion Papers 10527, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    21. Murnane, RJ & Ganimian, A. J., "undated". "Improving educational outcomes in developing countries: Lessons from rigorous evaluations," Working Paper 180186, Harvard University OpenScholar.
    22. Victor Lavy, 2015. "Do Differences in Schools' Instruction Time Explain International Achievement Gaps? Evidence from Developed and Developing Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 125(588), pages 397-424, November.
    23. Charles T. Clotfelter & Helen F. Ladd & Jacob L. Vigdor, 2010. "Teacher Credentials and Student Achievement in High School: A Cross-Subject Analysis with Student Fixed Effects," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(3).
    24. Aidan Mulkeen & David W. Chapman & Joan G. DeJaeghere & Elizabeth Leu, 2007. "Recruiting, Retaining, and Retraining Secondary School Teachers and Principals in Sub-Saharan Africa," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6648.
    25. Meghir, Costas & Mommaerts, Corina & Carneiro, Pedro & Koussihouede, Oswald & Lahire, Nathalie, 2015. "Decentralizing Education Resources: School Grants in Senegal," Center Discussion Papers 201691, Yale University, Economic Growth Center.
    26. Ama Baafra Abeberese & Todd J. Kumler & Leigh L. Linden, 2014. "Improving Reading Skills by Encouraging Children to Read in School:: A Randomized Evaluation of the Sa Aklat Sisikat Reading Program in the Philippines," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 49(3), pages 611-633.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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


    Cited by:

    1. Ludger Woessmann, 2016. "The Importance of School Systems: Evidence from International Differences in Student Achievement," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 3-32, Summer.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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:uwp:jhriss:v:53:y:2018:i:3:p:553-578. 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: (). General contact details of provider: http://jhr.uwpress.org/ .

    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.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with 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.