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Africa's Skill Tragedy: Does Teachers' Lack of Knowledge Lead to Low Student Performance?

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  • Piopiunik, Marc
  • Bietenbeck, Jan
  • Wiederhold, Simon

Abstract

Student performance in Sub-Saharan Africa is tragically low. We study the importance of teacher subject knowledge for student performance in this region using unique international assessment data for sixth-grade students and their teachers. To circumvent bias due to unobserved student heterogeneity, we exploit variation within students across math and reading. We find that teacher subject knowledge has a modest impact on student performance on average. However, this effect is substantially larger for students with access to textbooks, which indicates important complementarities between teacher knowledge and school resources. Results are robust to adding teacher fixed effects and not driven by sorting.

Suggested Citation

  • Piopiunik, Marc & Bietenbeck, Jan & Wiederhold, Simon, 2016. "Africa's Skill Tragedy: Does Teachers' Lack of Knowledge Lead to Low Student Performance?," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145562, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc16:145562
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ludger Woessmann, 2016. "The Importance of School Systems: Evidence from International Differences in Student Achievement," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 3-32, Summer.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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