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American Economic Journal: Applied Economics: Vol. 5 No. 2 (April 2013)

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School Inputs, Household Substitution, and Test Scores

Article Citation

Das, Jishnu, Stefan Dercon, James Habyarimana, Pramila Krishnan, Karthik Muralidharan, and Venkatesh Sundararaman. 2013. "School Inputs, Household Substitution, and Test Scores." American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 5(2): 29-57.

DOI: 10.1257/app.5.2.29

Abstract

Empirical studies of the relationship between school inputs and test scores typically do not account for household responses to changes in school inputs. Evidence from India and Zambia shows that student test scores are higher when schools receive unanticipated grants, but there is no impact of grants that are anticipated. We show that the most likely mechanism for this result is that households offset their own spending in response to anticipated grants. Our results confirm the importance of optimal household responses and suggest caution when interpreting estimates of school inputs on learning outcomes as parameters of an education production function. (JEL D12, H52, I21, O15)

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Authors

Das, Jishnu (World Bank)
Dercon, Stefan (U Oxford)
Habyarimana, James (Public Policy Institute, Georgetown U)
Krishnan, Pramila (U Cambridge)
Muralidharan, Karthik (U CA, San Diego)
Sundararaman, Venkatesh (World Bank)

JEL Classifications

D12: Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
H52: National Government Expenditures and Education
I21: Analysis of Education
O15: Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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