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Scaling Up What Works: Experimental Evidence on External Validity in Kenyan Education

  • Jenny Aker
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    The recent wave of randomized trials in development economics has provoked criticisms regarding external validity. We investigate two concerns—heterogeneity across beneficiaries and implementers—in a randomized trial of contract teachers in Kenyan schools. The intervention, previously shown to raise test scores in NGO-led trials in Western Kenya and parts of India, was replicated across all Kenyan provinces by an NGO and the government. Strong effects of shortterm contracts produced in controlled experimental settings are lost in weak public institutions: NGO implementation produces a positive effect on test scores across diverse contexts, while government implementation yields zero effect. The data suggests that the stark contrast in success between the government and NGO arm can be traced back to implementation constraints and political economy forces put in motion as the program went to scale.

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    File URL: http://www.cgdev.org/sites/default/files/Sandefur-et-al-Scaling-Up-What-Works.pdf
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    Paper provided by Center for Global Development in its series Working Papers with number 321.

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    Length: 50 pages
    Date of creation: Mar 2013
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:cgd:wpaper:321
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.cgdev.org

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    1. Kazianga, Harounan & de Walque, Damien & Alderman, Harold, 2009. "Educational and health impacts of two school feeding schemes : evidence from a randomized trial in rural Burkina Faso," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4976, The World Bank.
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    5. 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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    7. Sarah Baird & Craig McIntosh & Berk �zler, 2011. "Cash or Condition? Evidence from a Cash Transfer Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(4), pages 1709-1753.
    8. Miriam Bruhn & David McKenzie, 2009. "In Pursuit of Balance: Randomization in Practice in Development Field Experiments," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(4), pages 200-232, October.
    9. 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).
    10. Ritva Reinikka & Jakob Svensson, 2005. "Fighting Corruption to Improve Schooling: Evidence from a Newspaper Campaign in Uganda," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 259-267, 04/05.
    11. Paxson, Christina & Schady, Norbert, 2007. "Does money matter ? The effects of cash transfers on child health and development in rural Ecuador," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4226, The World Bank.
    12. Tessa Bold, Mwangi Kimenyi, Germano Mwabu, Justin Sandefur, 2011. " Why Did Abolishing Fees Not Increase Public School Enrollment in Kenya?- Working Paper 271," Working Papers 271, Center for Global Development.
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    14. Paul Atherton & Geeta Kingdon, 2010. "The relative effectiveness and costs of contract and regular teachers in India," CSAE Working Paper Series 2010-15, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
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