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What educational production functions really show : a positive theory of education spending

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  • Pritchett, Lant
  • Filmer,Deon

Abstract

The accumulated results of empirical studies show that the public sector typically chooses spending on inputs such that the productivity of additional spending on books and instructional materials is 10 to 100 times larger than that of additional spending on teacher inputs (for example, higher wages, small class size). The authors argue that this pervasive and systemic deviation of actual spending from the technical optimum requires a political, not economic or technical, explanation. The evidence is consistent only with a class of positive models in which public spending choices are directly influenced by a desire for higher spending on teacher inputs, over and above their role in producing educational outputs. This desire could be due either to teacher power, or bureaucratic budget-maximizing behavior, or political patronage. The authors conclude by exploring the implications of these positive political models of educational spending behavior for various types of proposed educational reforms (localized control, parental participation, vouchers, and so on) which requires an examination of how the proposed reforms shift the relative powers of the stakeholders in the educational system: students and parents, educators, bureaucrats, and politicians.

Suggested Citation

  • Pritchett, Lant & Filmer,Deon, 1997. "What educational production functions really show : a positive theory of education spending," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1795, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1795
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Nancy Vandycke, 2001. "Access to Education for the Poor in Europe and Central Asia : Preliminary Evidence and Policy Implications," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 13974, April.
    2. Deolalikar, Anil & Hasan, Rana & Khan, Haider & Quibria, M.G., 1997. "Competiveness and Human Resource Development," MPRA Paper 2819, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 1997.
    3. Bourguignon, Francois & Rogers, F. Halsey, 2007. "Distributional effects of educational improvements: Are we using the wrong model?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 735-746, December.
    4. Risti Permani, 2009. "The Role of Education in Economic Growth in East Asia: a survey," Asian-Pacific Economic Literature, Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government, The Australian National University, vol. 23(1), pages 1-20, May.
    5. Ablo, Emmanuel & Reinikka, Ritva, 1998. "Do budgets really matter? - evidence from public spending on education and health in Uganda," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1926, The World Bank.
    6. John Beirne & Nauro F. Campos, 2007. "Educational inputs and outcomes before the transition from communism ," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 15(1), pages 57-76, March.
    7. Eduardo Zegarra & Renato Ravina, 2003. "Teacher Unionization and the Quality of Education in Peru: An Empirical Evaluation Using Survey Data," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 3284, Inter-American Development Bank.
    8. Nazmul Chaudhury & Jeffrey Hammer & Michael Kremer & Karthik Muralidharan & F. Halsey Rogers, 2006. "Missing in Action: Teacher and Health Worker Absence in Developing Countries," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 91-116, Winter.
    9. Asongu, Simplice & Boateng, Agyenim & Akamavi, Raphael, 2016. "Mobile Phone Innovation and Inclusive Human Development: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa," MPRA Paper 75046, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. María Victoria Fazio, 2004. "Incidencia de las Horas Trabajadas en el Rendimiento Académico de Estudiantes Universitarios Argentinos," Department of Economics, Working Papers 052, Departamento de Economía, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
    11. María Victoria Fazio, 2004. "Incidencia de las Horas Trabajadas en el Rendimiento Académico de Estudiantes Universitarios Argentinos," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0010, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
    12. Luiz Felipe Leite Estanislau do Amaral & Naércio Menezes-Filho, 2008. "A Relação entre Gastos Educacionais e Desempenho Escolar," Anais do XXXVI Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 36th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 200807201800160, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    13. 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, April.
    14. Janvier D. Nkurunziza & Floribert Ngaruko, 2002. "Explaining growth in Burundi: 1960-2000," CSAE Working Paper Series 2002-03, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    15. Emiliana Vegas & Ilana Umansky, 2005. "Improving Teaching and Learning through Effective Incentives : What Can We Learn from Education Reforms in Latin America?," World Bank Other Operational Studies 8694, The World Bank.
    16. Shahrukh Rafi Khan & David Kiefer, 2007. "Educational Production Functions for Rural Pakistan: A Comparative Institutional Analysis," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(3), pages 327-342.
    17. Alejandra Mizala & Pilar Romaguera, 2003. "Desafíos metodológicos de los Sistemas de Evaluación e Incentivos en Educación. El caso del SNED en Chile (Methodological challenges for evaluation and incentive systems in education. The case of SNED," Documentos de Trabajo 159, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
    18. Eva Jenkner & Arye L. Hillman, 2002. "User Payments for Basic Education in Low-Income Countries," IMF Working Papers 02/182, International Monetary Fund.

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