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Effects of School Quality on Student Achievement: Discontinuity Evidence from Kenya

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  • ADRIENNE M. LUCAS

    () (Department of Economics,University of Delaware)

  • ISAAC M. MBITI

    () (Department of Economics,Southern Methodist University)

Abstract

The most desirable Kenyan secondary schools are elite government schools that admit the best students from across the country. We exploit the random variation generated by the centralized school admissions process in a regression discontinuity design to obtain causal estimates of the effects of attending one of these elite public schools on student progression and test scores in secondary school. Despite their reputations, we find little evidence of positive impacts on learning outcomes for students who attended these schools, suggesting that their sterling reputations reflect the selection of students rather than their ability to generate value-added test-score gains.

Suggested Citation

  • Adrienne M. Lucas & Isaac M. Mbiti, 2014. "Effects of School Quality on Student Achievement: Discontinuity Evidence from Kenya," Working Papers 14-03, University of Delaware, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:dlw:wpaper:14-03.
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:eecrev:v:95:y:2017:i:c:p:168-194 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Park, Albert & Shi, Xinzheng & Hsieh, Chang-tai & An, Xuehui, 2015. "Magnet high schools and academic performance in China: A regression discontinuity design," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(4), pages 825-843.
    3. Kalena E. Cortes & Joshua S. Goodman & Takako Nomi, 2015. "Intensive Math Instruction and Educational Attainment: Long-Run Impacts of Double-Dose Algebra," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(1), pages 108-158.
    4. Figlio, D. & Karbownik, K. & Salvanes, K.G., 2016. "Education Research and Administrative Data," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    5. Dasgupta, Utteeyo & Mani, Subha & Sharma, Smriti & Singhal, Saurabh, 2017. "Cognitive, Socioemotional and Behavioral Returns to College Quality," IZA Discussion Papers 10701, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Mark Hoekstra & Pierre Mouganie & Yaojing Wang, 2016. "Peer Quality and the Academic Benefits to Attending Better Schools," NBER Working Papers 22337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Peters, Jörg & Langbein, Jörg & Roberts, Gareth, 2017. "Generalization in the Tropics: Development policy, randomized controlled trials, and external validity," Ruhr Economic Papers 716, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    8. Luc Behaghel & Clément de Chaisemartin & Marc Gurgand, 2017. "Ready for Boarding? The Effects of a Boarding School for Disadvantaged Students," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 140-164, January.
    9. Peters, Jörg & Langbein, Jörg & Roberts, Gareth, 2016. "Policy evaluation, randomized controlled trials, and external validity—A systematic review," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 147(C), pages 51-54.
    10. Estrada, Ricardo & Gignoux, Jérémie, 2017. "Benefits to elite schools and the expected returns to education: Evidence from Mexico City," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 168-194.
    11. repec:wly:emetrp:v:85:y:2017:i::p:1373-1432 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Marisa von Fintel & Servaas van der Berg, 2017. "What a difference a good school makes! Persistence in academic performance and the impact of school quality," Working Papers 07/2017, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics, revised 2017.
    13. Atila Abdulkadiroğlu & Joshua D. Angrist & Yusuke Narita & Parag A. Pathak, 2017. "Research Design Meets Market Design: Using Centralized Assignment for Impact Evaluation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 85, pages 1373-1432, September.
    14. Estrada, Ricardo & Gignoux, Jérémie, 2014. "Benefits to elite schools and the formation of expected returns to education: Evidence from Mexico City," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 1407, CEPREMAP.
    15. Clair Null & Clemencia Cosentino & Swetha Sridharan & Laura Meyer, "undated". "Policies and Programs to Improve Secondary Education in Developing Countries: A Review of the Evidence," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 516e420e637c4851b15e6a3f6, Mathematica Policy Research.
    16. Anderson, Kathryn & Gong, Xue & Hong, Kai & Zhang, Xi, 2016. "Do selective high schools improve student achievement? Effects of exam schools in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 121-134.
    17. Marisa Coetzee, 2014. "School quality and the performance of disadvantaged learners in South Africa," Working Papers 22/2014, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Education; Kenya; returns to secondary school;

    JEL classification:

    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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