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Enhancing the Public Provision of Education: The Economics of Education Reform in Developing Countries

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  • Rossana Patrón

    (Departamento de Economía, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de la República)

Abstract

The paper argues that a comprehensive evaluation of education reform in particular in developing countries needs considering the triangle’ quality-quantity-equity of educational policies in the short, medium and long term in a broader context than the education system itself. There is no simple “recipe” for improving quality and internal and external efficiency in the public education system but some general results are found. Firstly, that the elasticity of the return of the reform is decreasing with the size of increased budget, making anti-economical the reliance on a reform consisting in more resources only to significantly improve the poor performance of the system. Indeed, very modest target set to improve the system performance, would require -without more sophisticated policies- huge increments in budget with a poor return. In this sense the paper investigate the capacity of focused policies to improve the productivity of the education expenditure, in particular toward basic education or the disadvantaged students. Secondly, the timing of the reform matters: most policies with very different return in the long term are almost undistinguishable by their short run merits, and policies that are more productive in the short term may be less convenient than competing alternatives in the longer term, so the actual policy may be influenced by the time horizon chosen by the policy makers. Thirdly, effects of the reform are accumulative, and to evaluate the reform by modest, in general, short run merits is myopic and may put the reform at risk of reversion or to deter future investment in the sector.

Suggested Citation

  • Rossana Patrón, 2006. "Enhancing the Public Provision of Education: The Economics of Education Reform in Developing Countries," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 1106, Department of Economics - dECON.
  • Handle: RePEc:ude:wpaper:1106
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    File URL: http://cienciassociales.edu.uy/departamentodeeconomia/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2013/archivos/1106.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Corman, H., 2003. "The effects of state policies, individual characteristics, family characteristics, and neighbourhood characteristics on grade repetition in the United States," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 409-420, August.
    2. Lopez, Ramon & Thomas, Vinod & Yan Wang, 1998. "Addressing the education puzzle : the distribution of education and economic reform," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2031, The World Bank.
    3. Jonathan Temple, 2003. "Growth effects of education and social capital in the OECD countries," OECD Economic Studies, OECD Publishing, vol. 2001(2), pages 57-101.
    4. John J Matovu & Era Dabla-Norris, 2002. "Composition of Government Expenditures and Demand for Education in Developing Countries," IMF Working Papers 02/78, International Monetary Fund.
    5. Ben Jensen & Andrew Seltzer, 2000. "Neighbourhood and Family Effects in Educational Progress," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 33(1), pages 17-31.
    6. Eric A. Hanushek, 1979. "Conceptual and Empirical Issues in the Estimation of Educational Production Functions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(3), pages 351-388.
    7. Eric A. Hanushek, 2004. "Some Simple Analytics of School Quality," NBER Working Papers 10229, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Birdsall, Nancy & O'Connell, Lesley & Londoño de la Cuesta, Juan Luis, 1998. "Education in Latin America: demand and distribution are factors that matter," Revista CEPAL, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), December.
    9. Dessus, Sebastien, 2001. "Human capital and growth : the recovered role of education systems," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2632, The World Bank.
    10. Salvatore, Dominick, 2004. "Growth and poverty in a globalizing world," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 543-551, June.
    11. Heckman, James J. & Masterov, Dimitriy V., 2004. "Skill Policies for Scotland," IZA Discussion Papers 1444, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    public education; developing countries; development of human resources;

    JEL classification:

    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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