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The permanent input hypothesis : the case of textbooks and (no) student learning in Sierra Leone

Author

Listed:
  • Sabarwal, Shwetlena
  • Evans, David K.
  • Marshak, Anastasia

Abstract

A textbook provision program in Sierra Leone demonstrates how volatility in the flow of government-provided learning inputs to schools can induce storage of these inputs by school administrators to smooth future consumption. This process in turn leads to low current utilization of inputs for student learning. A randomized trial of a public program providing textbooks to primary schools had modest positive impacts on teacher behavior but no impacts on student performance. In many treatment schools, student access to textbooks did not actually increase because a large majority of the books were stored rather than distributed to students. At the same time, the propensity to save books was positively correlated with uncertainty on the part of head teachers regarding government transfers of books. The evidence suggests that schools that have high uncertainty with respect to future transfers are more likely to store a high proportion of current transfers. These results show that reducing uncertainty in school input flows could result in higher current input use for student learning. For effective program design, public policy programs must take forward-looking behavior among intermediate actors into account.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:7021
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Elizabeth Beasley & Elise Huillery, 2017. "Willing but Unable? Short-term Experimental Evidence on Parent Empowerment and School Quality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 31(2), pages 531-552.
    2. Jan Bietenbeck & Marc Piopiunik & Simon Wiederhold, 2018. "Africa’s Skill Tragedy: Does Teachers’ Lack of Knowledge Lead to Low Student Performance?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 53(3), pages 553-578.
    3. Fuje,Habtamu Neda & Tandon,Prateek, 2015. "When do in-service teacher training and books improve student achievement ? experimental evidence from Mongolia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7485, The World Bank.
    4. Nadel, Sara & Pritchett, Lant, 2016. "Searching for the Devil in the Details: Learning about Development Program Design," Working Paper Series rwp16-041, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    5. World Bank Group, 2015. "Education Service Delivery in Tanzania," World Bank Other Operational Studies 24797, The World Bank.
    6. Fleisch, Brahm & Schöer, Volker & Roberts, Gareth & Thornton, Amy, 2016. "System-wide improvement of early-grade mathematics: New evidence from the Gauteng Primary Language and Mathematics Strategy," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 157-174.
    7. Sara Nadel and Lant Pritchett, 2016. "Motivated by our experience in designing a particular social program, skill set signaling for new entrants to the labor market in Peru, we articulate the need for, and explore the empirical consequenc," Working Papers 434, Center for Global Development.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Tertiary Education; Education For All; Primary Education; Secondary Education; Teaching and Learning;

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