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American Economic Journal: Applied Economics: Vol. 4 No. 4 (October 2012)

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Access, Sorting, and Achievement: The Short-Run Effects of Free Primary Education in Kenya

Article Citation

Lucas, Adrienne M., and Isaac M. Mbiti. 2012. "Access, Sorting, and Achievement: The Short-Run Effects of Free Primary Education in Kenya." American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 4(4): 226-53.

DOI: 10.1257/app.4.4.226

Abstract

We examine the impact of the Kenyan Free Primary Education program on student participation, sorting, and achievement on the primary school exit examination. Exploiting variation in pre-program dropout rates between districts, we find that the program increased the number of students who completed primary school, spurred private school entry, and increased access for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. We argue that the program was welfare enhancing as it promoted educational access without substantially reducing the test scores of students who would have been in school in the absence of the program. (JEL H52, I21, I28, O15)

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Authors

Lucas, Adrienne M. (U DE)
Mbiti, Isaac M. (Southern Methodist U)

JEL Classifications

H52: National Government Expenditures and Education
I21: Analysis of Education
I28: Education: Government Policy
O15: Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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