Does Abolishing Fees Reduce School Quality?� Evidence from Kenya
In 2003 Kenya abolished user fees in all government primary schools. We find that this Free Primary Education (FPE) policy resulted in a decline in public school quality and increased demand for private schooling.� However, the former did not reflect a decline in value added by public schools - as anticipated if fees contribute to local accountability - but rather the selection of weaker pupils into free education.� In contrast, affluent children who exited to the private sector in response to FPE benefited from a strong, causal effect on their exam performance which is robust to selection on unobserved ability.
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