Do School Incentives and Accountability Measures Improve Skills in the Middle East and North Africa? The Cases of Jordan and Tunisia
30 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2010
Date Written: February 4, 2010
There is general agreement that skill-enhancing school reforms in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region are necessary for economic, political and social reasons. Using student-level data from Jordan and Tunisia, this study assesses the relationship between skills and the following school incentive and accountability measures: pedagogical autonomy, school competition, freedom to hire and fire teachers, publicly posting data, and parental involvement in school affairs. Quantile regression analyses of mathematics, science, and reading skills of 15-year old students suggest that students in schools with incentive and accountability measures do not have higher skills than students in school without the measures; this suggests that schools with incentive and accountability measures are no more efficient than other schools which have not adopted the measures. In terms of equity, the measures are not associated with higher skills for the less-skilled; a notable exception is parental involvement in Tunisia, which is associated with higher science and reading skills among low-skilled students. The main policy implication is that school incentive- and accountability-based reform should not be pursued until researchers have identified the effective design properties of each incentive and accountability measure.
Keywords: Educational economics, human capital, skills, quantile regression, Jordan, Tunisia
JEL Classification: I20, H30, H87, O10, O20, O53
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation