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Financial Constraints and Girls' Secondary Education: Evidence from School Fee Elimination in The Gambia

Author

Listed:
  • Blimpo, Moussa P.

    () (University of Oklahoma)

  • Gajigo, Ousman

    () (World Bank)

  • Pugatch, Todd

    () (Oregon State University)

Abstract

We assess the impact of large-scale fee elimination for secondary school girls in The Gambia on the quantity, composition, and achievement of students. The gradual rollout of the program across geographic regions provides identifying variation in the policy. The program increased access to secondary education substantially without harming learning outcomes. We find an increase of around 50% in the number of girls and boys taking the high school exit exam from a low baseline, as well as a 0.1 standard deviations gain in test scores in response to the program. This result is notable in a setting where expanded access could put additional strains on limited resources and the quality of schools. These findings suggest that financial constraints remain serious barriers to post-primary education and that efforts to expand access to secondary education need not come at the expense of learning in low-income countries like The Gambia.

Suggested Citation

  • Blimpo, Moussa P. & Gajigo, Ousman & Pugatch, Todd, 2015. "Financial Constraints and Girls' Secondary Education: Evidence from School Fee Elimination in The Gambia," IZA Discussion Papers 9129, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp9129
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Harounan Kazianga & Dan Levy & Leigh L. Linden & Matt Sloan, 2013. "The Effects of "Girl-Friendly" Schools: Evidence from the BRIGHT School Construction Program in Burkina Faso," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(3), pages 41-62, July.
    2. Alejandro J. Ganimian & Richard J. Murnane, 2014. "Improving Educational Outcomes in Developing Countries: Lessons from Rigorous Impact Evaluations," NBER Working Papers 20284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Ousman Gajigo, 2012. "Working Paper 164 - Closing the Education Gender Gap: Estimating the Impact of Girls’ Scholarship Program in The Gambia," Working Paper Series 442, African Development Bank.
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    5. Pugatch, Todd & Schroeder, Elizabeth, 2014. "Teacher Pay and Student Performance: Evidence from the Gambian Hardship Allowance," IZA Discussion Papers 8621, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Kim, Jooseop & Alderman, Harold & Orazem, Peter F, 1999. "Can Private School Subsidies Increase Enrollment for the Poor? The Quetta Urban Fellowship Program," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 13(3), pages 443-465, September.
    7. Sarah Baird & Craig McIntosh & Berk Özler, 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. Kim, Jooseop & Alderman, Harold & Orazem, Peter, 1999. "Can Private School Subsidies Increase Schooling for the Poor? The Quetta Urban Fellowship Program," Staff General Research Papers Archive 1709, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    9. Dana Burde & Leigh L. Linden, 2013. "Bringing Education to Afghan Girls: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Village-Based Schools," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(3), pages 27-40, July.
    10. Adrienne M. Lucas & Isaac M. Mbiti, 2012. "Access, Sorting, and Achievement: The Short-Run Effects of Free Primary Education in Kenya," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 226-253, October.
    11. Karthik Muralidharan & Nishith Prakash, 2017. "Cycling to School: Increasing Secondary School Enrollment for Girls in India," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 321-350, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Berk Ozler, 2015. "Keeping Girls in School," World Bank Other Operational Studies 23866, The World Bank.
    2. Giordono, Leanne & Pugatch, Todd, 2015. "Informal Fee Elimination and Student Performance: Evidence from The Gambia," IZA Discussion Papers 9560, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    secondary school; school fee elimination; gender gap; Gambia;

    JEL classification:

    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments

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