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‘When Can School Inputs Improve Test Scores?’

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  • Das, J.
  • Dercon, S.
  • Habyarimana, J.
  • Krishnan, P.

Abstract

Most studies fail to find an impact of school inputs on outcomes such as test scores. We argue that this might be a consequence of ignoring the possibility that households respond optimally to changes in school inputs and thus obscure the real effect of such provision. To incorporate the forward-looking behaviour of households, we present a household optimisation model relating household resources and cognitive achievement to school inputs. In this framework if household and school inputs are technical substitutes in the production function, the impact of unanticipated inputs is larger than that of anticipated inputs. We test the predictions of the model for non-salary cash grants to schools using a unique data set from Zambia. Consistent with the optimisation model, anticipated funds lead to significant improvements in learning. We are thus able both to order the effects of different kinds of spending and capture their impact on cognitive achievement.

Suggested Citation

  • Das, J. & Dercon, S. & Habyarimana, J. & Krishnan, P., 2004. "‘When Can School Inputs Improve Test Scores?’," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0437, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:0437
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    Cited by:

    1. Glick, Peter & Sahn, David E., 2009. "Cognitive skills among children in Senegal: Disentangling the roles of schooling and family background," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 178-188, April.
    2. Stefan Dercon (QEH), "undated". "Risk, Growth and Poverty: what do we know, what do we need to know?," QEH Working Papers qehwps148, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
    3. Das, Jishnu & Hammer, Jeffrey, 2005. "Which doctor? Combining vignettes and item response to measure clinical competence," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 348-383, December.
    4. Duflo, Esther & Glennerster, Rachel & Kremer, Michael, 2008. "Using Randomization in Development Economics Research: A Toolkit," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier.
    5. Pfeiffer, Friedhelm & Reuß, Karsten, 2008. "Age-dependent skill formation and returns to education," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 631-646, August.
    6. Singh, Prakarsh, 2011. "Performance Pay and Information: Reducing Child Malnutrition in Urban Slums," MPRA Paper 29403, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Das, Jishnu, 2004. "Equity in educational expenditures : can government subsidies help?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3249, The World Bank.
    8. Datar, Ashlesha & Mason, Bryce, 2008. "Do reductions in class size "crowd out" parental investment in education?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 712-723, December.
    9. Michael Clemens, 2004. "The Long Walk to School: International Education Goals in Historical Perspective," Working Papers 37, Center for Global Development.
    10. 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.
    11. Jishnu Das & Stefan Dercon & James Habyarimana & Pramila Krishnan, 2007. "Teacher Shocks and Student Learning: Evidence from Zambia," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(4).
    12. Das, Jishnu & Hammer, Jeffrey, 2004. "Which doctor? Combining vignettes and item response to measure doctor quality," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3301, The World Bank.
    13. Alejandro Esteller & Albert Solé, 2005. "Does decentralization improve the efficiency in the allocation of public investment? Evidence from Spain," Working Papers 2005/5, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    14. Masino, Serena & Niño-Zarazúa, Miguel, 2016. "What works to improve the quality of student learning in developing countries?," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 53-65.
    15. Francken, Nathalie & Minten, Bart & Swinnen, Johan F.M., 2009. "Media, Monitoring, and Capture of Public Funds: Evidence from Madagascar," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 242-255, January.
    16. Sharon Bernhardt, 2006. "Participation in a School Incentive Programme in Karnataka," Working Papers id:319, eSocialSciences.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household

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