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School Resources and Educational Outcomes in Developing Countries: A Review of the Literature from 1990 to 2010

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  • Paul W. Glewwe
  • Eric A. Hanushek
  • Sarah D. Humpage
  • Renato Ravina

Abstract

Developing countries spend hundreds of billions of dollars each year on schools, educational materials and teachers, but relatively little is known about how effective these expenditures are at increasing students' years of completed schooling and, more importantly, the skills that they learn while in school. This paper examines studies published between 1990 and 2010, in both the education literature and the economics literature, to investigate which specific school and teacher characteristics, if any, appear to have strong positive impacts on learning and time in school. Starting with over 9,000 studies, 79 are selected as being of sufficient quality. Then an even higher bar is set in terms of econometric methods used, leaving 43 "high quality" studies. Finally, results are also shown separately for 13 randomized trials. The estimated impacts on time in school and learning of most school and teacher characteristics are statistically insignificant, especially when the evidence is limited to the "high quality" studies. The few variables that do have significant effects - e.g. availability of desks, teacher knowledge of the subjects they teach, and teacher absence - are not particularly surprising and thus provide little guidance for future policies and programs.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul W. Glewwe & Eric A. Hanushek & Sarah D. Humpage & Renato Ravina, 2011. "School Resources and Educational Outcomes in Developing Countries: A Review of the Literature from 1990 to 2010," NBER Working Papers 17554, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17554
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jesse Rothstein, 2010. "Teacher Quality in Educational Production: Tracking, Decay, and Student Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 175-214.
    2. repec:spr:portec:v:1:y:2002:i:2:d:10.1007_s10258-002-0010-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Richard Blundell & Monica Costa Dias, 2009. "Alternative Approaches to Evaluation in Empirical Microeconomics," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(3).
    4. 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, August.
    5. Karthik Muralidharan & Venkatesh Sundararaman, 2013. "Contract Teachers: Experimental Evidence from India," NBER Working Papers 19440, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2008. "The Role of Cognitive Skills in Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(3), pages 607-668, September.
    7. Glewwe, Paul & Kremer, Michael & Moulin, Sylvie & Zitzewitz, Eric, 2004. "Retrospective vs. prospective analyses of school inputs: the case of flip charts in Kenya," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 251-268, June.
    8. Guido W. Imbens & Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2009. "Recent Developments in the Econometrics of Program Evaluation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 5-86, March.
    9. Tan, Jee-Peng & Lane, Julia & Lassibille, Gerard, 1999. "Student Outcomes in Philippine Elementary Schools: An Evaluation of Four Experiments," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 13(3), pages 493-508, September.
    10. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Shawn Cole & Esther Duflo & Leigh Linden, 2007. "Remedying Education: Evidence from Two Randomized Experiments in India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1235-1264.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H4 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods
    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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