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The relative efficiency of public schools in developing countries


  • Jimenez, Emmanuel
  • Lockheed, Marlaine E.
  • Paqueo, Vicente


With the demand for schooling expected to increase and the tightening of fiscal constraints, changes will be necessary in order to meet ambitious educational targets. Instead of charging fees for public schools, a more cost-effective option is to rely on private schools to handle the growing demand for education. Private school students generally out perform public school students on standardized math and language tests. This finding takes into account that private school students usually come from slightly more advantaged backgrounds than their public school counterparts. In addition, school expenditure data show that unit costs for private schools are dramatically lower than those of public schools. The comparative advantage of private schools has important policy implications for public schools. Some efficiency gains can come from replicating the input mix of private schools. Also effective would be to mimic the organizational incentive structures of private schools.

Suggested Citation

  • Jimenez, Emmanuel & Lockheed, Marlaine E. & Paqueo, Vicente, 1988. "The relative efficiency of public schools in developing countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 72, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:72

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Willis, Robert J & Rosen, Sherwin, 1979. "Education and Self-Selection," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 7-36, October.
    2. Boissiere, M & Knight, J B & Sabot, R H, 1985. "Earnings, Schooling, Ability, and Cognitive Skills," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(5), pages 1016-1030, December.
    3. Hanushek, Eric A, 1986. "The Economics of Schooling: Production and Efficiency in Public Schools," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 1141-1177, September.
    4. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jimenez, Emmanuel*Lockheed, Marlaine E.*Luna, Ed, 1989. "School effects and costs for private and public schools in the Dominican Republic," Policy Research Working Paper Series 288, The World Bank.


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