School Governance, Teacher Incentives, and Pupil-Teacher Ratios: Experimental Evidence from Kenyan Primary Schools

50 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2012

See all articles by Esther Duflo

Esther Duflo

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics; Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD)

Pascaline Dupas

Stanford University

Michael Kremer

Harvard University - Department of Economics; Brookings Institution; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Center for Global Development; Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Date Written: March 12, 2012

Abstract

We examine a program that enabled Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) in Kenya to hire novice teachers on short-term contracts, reducing class sizes in grade one from 82 to 44 on average. PTA teachers earned approximately one-quarter as much as teachers operating under central government civil-service institutions but were absent one day per week less and their students learned more. In the weak institutional environment we study, civil-service teachers responded to the program along two margins: first, they reduced their effort in response to the drop in the pupil-teacher ratio, and second, they influenced PTA committees to hire their relatives. Both effects reduced the educational impact of the program. A governance program that empowered parents within PTAs mitigated both effects. Better performing contract teachers are more likely to transition into civil-service positions and we estimate large potential dynamic benefits of contract teacher programs on the teacher workforce.

Keywords: contract teachers, PTA, School-Based Management, teacher effort, test score gain, nepotism

JEL Classification: I21, M51, O15

Suggested Citation

Duflo, Esther and Dupas, Pascaline and Kremer, Michael R., School Governance, Teacher Incentives, and Pupil-Teacher Ratios: Experimental Evidence from Kenyan Primary Schools (March 12, 2012). MIT Department of Economics Working Paper No. 12-07. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2021483 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2021483

Esther Duflo (Contact Author)

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Pascaline Dupas

Stanford University ( email )

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Michael R. Kremer

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

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