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Determinants of School Choice:Evidence from Rural Punjab, Pakistan


  • Hamna Ahmed

    () (Lahore School of Economics, Lahore, Pakistan.)

  • Sahar Amjad

    () (Lahore School of Economics, Lahore, Pakistan.)

  • Masooma Habib

    () (Lahore School of Economics, Lahore, Pakistan.)

  • Syed Ahsan Shah

    () (Lahore School of Economics, Lahore, Pakistan.)


The objective of this study is to understand why parents in rural areas choose low-cost private schools when free public schools are available. The study employs data from the Privatization in Education Research Initiative (PERI) School Choice Survey, 2011. The sample under study comprises 5–18-year-old children enrolled in private or public schools at the primary, secondary, or high school level in eight rural tehsils across Punjab, Pakistan. Our methodology entails specifying a probability choice model to understand what determines school choice in a rural setting. The variable of interest is parents’ perceptions of their child’s competence, the quality of the child’s school, and the employment opportunities available to the child. The model also controls for a range of child-, parent-, and household-specific characteristics. Five main factors emerge as important determinants of private school choice. These include the socioeconomic status of the household, the degree of a school’s accessibility, the cost of schooling, parents’ perceptions of school quality, and their perceptions of the available employment opportunities in the region.

Suggested Citation

  • Hamna Ahmed & Sahar Amjad & Masooma Habib & Syed Ahsan Shah, 2013. "Determinants of School Choice:Evidence from Rural Punjab, Pakistan," CREB Working papers 1-2013, Centre for Research in Economics and Business, The Lahore School of Economics, revised 2013.
  • Handle: RePEc:lje:wpaper:1-2013

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sawada, Yasuyuki & Lokshin, Michael, 2009. "Obstacles to school progression in rural Pakistan: An analysis of gender and sibling rivalry using field survey data," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 335-347, March.
    2. Shahnaz Hamid, 1993. "A Micro Analysis of Demand-side Determinants of Schooling in Urban Pakistan," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 32(4), pages 713-723.
    3. Aslam, Monazza & Kingdon, Geeta, 2011. "What can teachers do to raise pupil achievement?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 559-574, June.
    4. Daniele Checchi & Tullio Jappelli, 2002. "School choice and quality," Departmental Working Papers 2002-28, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
    5. Khattak, Naeem Ur Rehman Khattak & Khan, Jangraiz & Tariq, Muhammad & Tasleem, Sajjad, 2010. "Determinants of Parents’ Choice in Selection of Private Schools for Their Children in District Peshawar of Khyber Pakhunkhwa Province," MPRA Paper 55995, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 03 Jul 2010.
    6. Andrabi, Tahir & Das, Jishnu & Khwaja, Asim Ijaz, 2006. "A dime a day : the possibilities and limits of private schooling in Pakistan," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4066, The World Bank.
    7. Ali Cheema & Lyyla Khalid & Manasa Patnam, 2008. "The Geography of Poverty: Evidence from the Punjab," Lahore Journal of Economics, Department of Economics, The Lahore School of Economics, vol. 13(Special E), pages 163-188, September.
    8. Dreze, Jean & Kingdon, Geeta Gandhi, 2001. "School Participation in Rural India," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(1), pages 1-24, February.
    9. Lloyd, Cynthia B & Mete, Cem & Sathar, Zeba A, 2005. "The Effect of Gender Differences in Primary School Access, Type, and Quality on the Decision to Enroll in Rural Pakistan," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(3), pages 685-710, April.
    10. Psacharopoulos, George & Arieira, Carlos R. & Mattson, Robert, 1997. "Private education in a poor country: The case of urban Bolivia," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 395-406, October.
    11. Zeba A. Sathar & Cynthia B. Lloyd, 1994. "Who Gets Primary Schooling in Pakistan: Inequalities among and within Families," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 33(2), pages 103-134.
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    Cited by:

    1. Masooma Habib, 2013. "Education in Pakistan’s Punjab: Outcomes and Interventions," Lahore Journal of Economics, Department of Economics, The Lahore School of Economics, vol. 18(Special E), pages 21-48, September.

    More about this item


    School choice; private; public; perceptions; school quality; employment opportunities; wealth; access; cost of schooling; Punjab; Pakistan.;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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