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Willing but Unable: Short-Term Experimental Evidence on Parent Empowerment and School Quality

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  • Elizabeth Beasley
  • Elise Huillery

    (Département d'économie)

Abstract

Giving communities power over school management and spending decisions has been a favored strategy to increase school quality, but its effectiveness may be limited by weak capacity and low authority. We examine the short-term responses of a grant to school committees in a context such a context and find that overall, parents increased participation and responsibility, but these efforts did not improve quality. Enrollment at the lowest grades increased and school resources improved, but teacher absenteeism increased, and there was no impact on test scores. We examine heterogeneous impacts, and provide a model of school quality explaining the results and other results in the literature. The findings of this paper imply that strategies to improve quality by empowering parents should take levels of community authority and capacity into account: even when communities are willing to work to improve their schools, they may not be able to do so.

Suggested Citation

  • Elizabeth Beasley & Elise Huillery, 2015. "Willing but Unable: Short-Term Experimental Evidence on Parent Empowerment and School Quality," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/mmkrke5an8l, Sciences Po.
  • Handle: RePEc:spo:wpmain:info:hdl:2441/mmkrke5an8luq9ps90ougrtui
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gérard Lassibille & Jee-Peng Tan & Cornelia Jesse & Trang Van Nguyen, 2010. "Managing for Results in Primary Education in Madagascar: Evaluating the Impact of Selected Workflow Interventions," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 24(2), pages 303-329, August.
    2. Felipe Barrera-Osorio & Tazeen Fasih & Harry Anthony Patrinos & Lucrecia Santibáñez, 2009. "Decentralized Decision-making in Schools : The Theory and Evidence on School-based Management," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2632, October.
    3. Duflo, Esther & Dupas, Pascaline & Kremer, Michael, 2015. "School governance, teacher incentives, and pupil–teacher ratios: Experimental evidence from Kenyan primary schools," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 92-110.
    4. Hanushek, Eric A. & Link, Susanne & Woessmann, Ludger, 2013. "Does school autonomy make sense everywhere? Panel estimates from PISA," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 212-232.
    5. Albornoz-Crespo, Facundo & Berlinski, Samuel & Cabrales, Antonio, 2010. "Incentives, resources and the organization of the school system," CEPR Discussion Papers 7964, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Galiani, Sebastian & Gertler, Paul & Schargrodsky, Ernesto, 2008. "School decentralization: Helping the good get better, but leaving the poor behind," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(10-11), pages 2106-2120, October.
    7. Sabarwal, Shwetlena & Evans, David K. & Marshak, Anastasia, 2014. "The permanent input hypothesis : the case of textbooks and (no) student learning in Sierra Leone," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7021, The World Bank.
    8. Blimpo,Moussa P. & Evans,David & Lahire,Nathalie, 2015. "Parental human capital and effective school management : evidence from The Gambia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7238, The World Bank.
    9. Menno Pradhan & Daniel Suryadarma & Amanda Beatty & Maisy Wong & Arya Gaduh & Armida Alisjahbana & Rima Prama Artha, 2014. "Improving Educational Quality through Enhancing Community Participation: Results from a Randomized Field Experiment in Indonesia," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 105-126, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kozuka, Eiji & Sawada, Yasuyuki & Todo, Yasuyuki, 2016. "How Can Community Participation Improve Educational Outcomes? Experimental Evidence from a School-Based Management Project in Burkina Faso," Working Papers 112, JICA Research Institute.
    2. Lee Crawfurd, 2017. "School Management and Public–Private Partnerships in Uganda," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 26(5), pages 539-560.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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