IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Free Primary Education in Kenya: An Impact Evaluation Using Propensity Score Methods


  • Milu Muyanga
  • John Olwande
  • Esther Mueni
  • Stella Wambugu


This paper attempts to evaluate the impact of the free primary education programme in Kenya, which is based on the premise that government intervention can lead to enhanced access to education especially by children from poor parental backgrounds. Primary education system in Kenya has been characterised by high wastage in form of low enrolment, high dropout rates, grade repetition as well as poor transition from primary to secondary schools. This scenario was attributed to high cost of primary education. To reverse these poor trends in educational achievements, the government initiated free primary education programme in January 2003. This paper therefore analyzes the impact of the FPE programme using panel data. Results indicate primary school enrolment rate has improved especially for children hailing from higher income categories; an indication that factors that prevent children from poor backgrounds from attending primary school go beyond the inability to pay school fees. Grade progression in primary schools has slightly dwindled. The results also indicate that there still exist constraints hindering children from poorer households from transiting to secondary school. The free primary education programme was found to be progressive, with the relatively poorer households drawing more benefits from the subsidy.

Suggested Citation

  • Milu Muyanga & John Olwande & Esther Mueni & Stella Wambugu, 2010. "Free Primary Education in Kenya: An Impact Evaluation Using Propensity Score Methods," Working Papers PMMA 2010-08, PEP-PMMA.
  • Handle: RePEc:lvl:pmmacr:2010-08

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jalan, Jyotsna & Ravallion, Martin, 2003. "Estimating the Benefit Incidence of an Antipoverty Program by Propensity-Score Matching," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 21(1), pages 19-30, January.
    2. Aaron, Henry & McGuire, Martin, 1970. "Public Goods and Income Distribution," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 38(6), pages 907-920, November.
    3. Friedlander, Daniel & Robins, Philip K, 1995. "Evaluating Program Evaluations: New Evidence on Commonly Used Nonexperimental Methods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 923-937, September.
    4. Zhong Zhao, 2004. "Using Matching to Estimate Treatment Effects: Data Requirements, Matching Metrics, and Monte Carlo Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 91-107, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. The Impact of Free Primary Education in Kenya
      by Ariel Goldring in Free Market Mojo on 2010-11-07 19:00:56


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:injoed:v:53:y:2017:i:c:p:163-175 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Tesssa Bold, 2011. "Does Abolishing Fees Reduce School Quality? Evidence from Kenya," Economics Series Working Papers CSAE WPS/2011-04, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    Primary education; Programme evaluation; Propensity score; benefit incidence analysis; Kenya;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:lvl:pmmacr:2010-08. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Manuel Paradis). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.