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The effect of non-personnel resources on educational outcomes: Evidence from South Africa

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  • Miquel Pellicer

    () (GIGA Institute of Middle East Studies and SALDRU, School of Economics, University of Cape Town)

  • Patrizio Piraino

    (School of Economics, University of Cape Town)

Abstract

Little credible evidence exists on the effect of material resources on school quality in developing countries. This paper studies the impact of non-personnel funding on educational outcomes exploiting the peculiar way in which these resources are allocated in South Africa. Government funding follows quintiles constructed on the basis of school poverty scores. This creates discrete jumps in the allocation of funding and we use a regression discontinuity approach to analyze its effects on school outcomes at the end of high school. Our results show a small but positive effect of resources on student throughput during the last years of high school, and on the number of students writing the matriculation exam. However, additional resources do not translate into a higher number of successful exams, leading to an overall negative effect on pass rates. We suggest that these findings may have to do with schools reacting to the per-pupil nature of funding.

Suggested Citation

  • Miquel Pellicer & Patrizio Piraino, 2015. "The effect of non-personnel resources on educational outcomes: Evidence from South Africa," SALDRU Working Papers 144, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
  • Handle: RePEc:ldr:wpaper:144
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. James Heckman, 2011. "Policies to foster human capital," Educational Studies, Higher School of Economics, issue 3, pages 73-137.
    2. Harriet Nannyonjo, 2007. "Education Inputs In Uganda : An Analysis of Factors Influencing Learning Achievement in Grade Six," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6758.
    3. Michael Kremer & Alaka Holla, 2009. "Improving Education in the Developing World: What Have We Learned from Randomized Evaluations?," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 513-545, May.
    4. Hanushek, Eric A., 2006. "School Resources," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    5. Evan Borkum, 2012. "Can Eliminating School Fees in Poor Districts Boost Enrollment? Evidence from South Africa," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(2), pages 359-398.
    6. Martin Gustafsson, 2011. "The when and how of leaving school: The policy implications of new evidence on secondary schooling in South Africa," Working Papers 09/2011, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    7. Branson, Nicola & Kekana, Dineo & Lam, David, 2013. "Educational expenditure in South Africa: Evidence from the National Income Dynamics Study," SALDRU Working Papers 124, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    8. Deborah A. Cobb-Clark & Nikhil Jha, 2016. "Educational Achievement and the Allocation of School Resources," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 49(3), pages 251-271, September.
    9. Malcolm Keswell & Laura Poswell, 2004. "Returns To Education In South Africa: A Retrospective Sensitivity Analysis Of The Available Evidence," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 72(4), pages 834-860, September.
    10. Stephen Gibbons & Sandra McNally, 2013. "The Effects of Resources Across School Phases: A Summary of Recent Evidence," CEP Discussion Papers dp1226, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    11. Murray Leibbrandt & Ingrid Woolard & Arden Finn & Jonathan Argent, 2010. "Trends in South African Income Distribution and Poverty since the Fall of Apartheid," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 101, OECD Publishing.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nicola Branson & David Lam, 2017. "The impact of the no-fee school policy on enrolment and school performance: Evidence from NIDS Waves 1-3," SALDRU Working Papers 197, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.

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    Keywords

    Non-personnel resources; education; South Africa;

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