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Do Public Colleges in Developing Countries Provide Better Education than Private ones? Evidence from General Education Sector in India

  • Yona Rubinstein
  • Sheetal Sekhri

Public college graduates in many developing countries outperform graduates of private ones on the college exit exams. This has often been attributed to the cutting edge education provided in public colleges. However, public colleges are highly subsidized, suggesting that the private-public education outcome gap might reflect the pre-determined quality of the students who sort into public colleges rather than the causal impact of the public tertiary education on students' outcomes. We evaluate the impact of public colleges using a newly assembled unique data set that links admission data with the educational outcomes on a set of common exit exams in India. Admission to general education public colleges is strictly based on the results of the Senior Secondary School examinations. We exploit this feature in a Regression Discontinuity Design, and find that the public colleges have no added value in the neighborhood of the admission cut off scores.

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Paper provided by Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE in its series CEE Discussion Papers with number 0130.

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Date of creation: Dec 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cep:ceedps:0130
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  1. Imbens, Guido W. & Lemieux, Thomas, 2008. "Regression discontinuity designs: A guide to practice," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 615-635, February.
  2. MacLeod, Bentley, 2009. "Anti-Lemons: School Reputation and Educational Quality," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt3rc708kd, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
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  7. 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.
  8. Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard E, 1998. "Competition between Private and Public Schools, Vouchers, and Peer-Group Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 33-62, March.
  9. Pawan Agarwal, 2006. "Higher Education in India: The Need for Change," Working Papers id:576, eSocialSciences.
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