The High Return to Private Schooling in a Low-Income Country

12 Pages Posted: 16 Feb 2012

See all articles by Tessa Bold

Tessa Bold

Stockholm University - Institute for International Economic Studies (IIES)

Mwangi Kimenyi

University of Connecticut - Department of Economics

Germano Mwabu

University of Nairobi - Department of Economics

Justin Sandefur

Center for Global Development

Date Written: December 15, 2011

Abstract

Existing studies from the United States, Latin America, and Asia provide scant evidence that private schools dramatically improve academic performance relative to public schools. Using data from Kenya — a poor country with weak public institutions — we find a large effect of private schooling on test scores, equivalent to one full standard deviation. This finding is robust to endogenous sorting of more able pupils into private schools. The magnitude of the effect dwarfs the impact of any rigorously-tested intervention to raise performance within public schools. Furthermore, nearly two-thirds of private schools operate at lower cost than the median government school.

Keywords: Kenya, education

Suggested Citation

Bold, Tessa and Kimenyi, Mwangi and Mwabu, Germano and Sandefur, Justin, The High Return to Private Schooling in a Low-Income Country (December 15, 2011). Center for Global Development Working Paper No. 279, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1973021 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1973021

Tessa Bold (Contact Author)

Stockholm University - Institute for International Economic Studies (IIES) ( email )

Stockholm, SE-10691
Sweden

Mwangi Kimenyi

University of Connecticut - Department of Economics ( email )

365 Fairfield Way, U-1063
Storrs, CT 06269-1063
United States

Germano Mwabu

University of Nairobi - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 30197
Nairobi
Kenya
2542226451 (Phone)

Justin Sandefur

Center for Global Development ( email )

2055 L St. NW
5th floor
Washington, DC 20036
United States

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