When Can School Inputs Improve Test Scores?

54 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Jishnu Das

Jishnu Das

Georgetown University; Georgetown University

Stefan Dercon

University of Oxford - Department of Economics

James Paul Habyarimana

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Pramila Krishnan

University of Oxford - Department of Economics

Date Written: February 5, 2004

Abstract

The relationship between school inputs and educational outcomes is critical for educational policy. The authors recognize that households will respond optimally to changes in school inputs and study how such responses affect the link between school inputs and cognitive achievement. To incorporate the forward-looking behavior of households, the authors present a household optimization model relating household resources and cognitive achievement to school inputs. In this framework, if household and school inputs are technical substitutes in the production function for cognitive achievement, the impact of unanticipated inputs is larger than that of anticipated inputs. The authors test the predictions of the model for nonsalary cash grants to schools using a unique data set from Zambia. They find that household educational expenditures and school cash grants are substitutes with a coefficient of elasticity between -0.35 and -0.52. Consistent with the optimization model, anticipated funds have no impact on cognitive achievement, but unanticipated funds lead to significant improvements in learning. This methodology has important implications for educational research and policy.

Keywords: Housing & Human Habitats, Environmental Economics & Policies, Teaching and Learning, Economic Theory & Research, Economic Conditions and Volatility, Economics of Education

Suggested Citation

Das, Jishnu and Dercon, Stefan and Habyarimana, James Paul and Krishnan, Pramila, When Can School Inputs Improve Test Scores? (February 5, 2004). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 3217, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1273484

Jishnu Das (Contact Author)

Georgetown University ( email )

O Street
Washington, DC 20057
United States

Georgetown University ( email )

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37th & O Streets NW
Washington, DC 20057
United States

Stefan Dercon

University of Oxford - Department of Economics ( email )

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Oxford, OX1 3BJ
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44 1865 271094 (Fax)

James Paul Habyarimana

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Pramila Krishnan

University of Oxford - Department of Economics ( email )

Manor Road Building
Manor Road
Oxford, OX1 3BJ
United Kingdom

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