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School Resources and Educational Outcomes in Developing Countries: A Review of the Literature from 1990 to 2010

  • Glewwe, Paul
  • Hanushek, Eric
  • Humpage, Sarah
  • Ravina, Renato

Developing countries spend hundreds of billions of dollars each year on schools, educational materials and teachers, but relatively little is known about how effective these expenditures are at increasing students’ years of completed schooling and, more importantly, the skills that they learn while in school. This paper examines studies published between 1990 and 2010, in both the education literature and the economics literature, to investigate which specific school and teacher characteristics, if any, appear to have strong positive impacts on learning and time in school. Starting with over 9,000 studies, 79 are selected as being of sufficient quality. Then an even higher bar is set in terms of econometric methods used, leaving 43 “high quality” studies. Finally, results are also shown separately for 13 randomized trials. The estimated impacts on time in school and learning of most school and teacher characteristics are statistically insignificant, especially when the evidence is limited to the “high quality” studies. The few variables that do have significant effects – e.g. availability of desks, teacher knowledge of the subjects they teach, and teacher absence – are not particularly surprising and thus provide little guidance for future policies and programs.

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File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/120033
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Paper provided by University of Minnesota, Center for International Food and Agricultural Policy in its series Working Papers with number 120033.

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Date of creation: Jan 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ags:umciwp:120033
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  1. Guido M. Imbens & Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2008. "Recent Developments in the Econometrics of Program Evaluation," NBER Working Papers 14251, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2008. "The Role of Cognitive Skills in Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(3), pages 607-68, September.
  3. Richard Blundell & Monica Costa Dias, 2002. "Alternative approaches to evaluation in empirical microeconomics," CeMMAP working papers CWP10/02, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  4. Glewwe, Paul & Kremer, Michael & Moulin, Sylvie & Zitzewitz, Eric, 2004. "Retrospective vs. prospective analyses of school inputs: the case of flip charts in Kenya," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 251-268, June.
  5. Jesse Rothstein, 2008. "Teacher Quality in Educational Production: Tracking, Decay, and Student Achievement," NBER Working Papers 14442, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Harriet Nannyonjo, 2007. "Education Inputs In Uganda : An Analysis of Factors Influencing Learning Achievement in Grade Six," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6758.
  7. Karthik Muralidharan & Venkatesh Sundararaman, 2013. "Contract Teachers: Experimental Evidence from India," NBER Working Papers 19440, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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