Corrupting Learning: Evidence from Missing Federal Education Funds in Brazil

43 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2012

See all articles by Claudio Ferraz

Claudio Ferraz

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics; Institute of Applied Economic Research (IPEA)

Frederico Finan

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Diana Moreira

Harvard University

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 2012

Abstract

This paper examines if money matters in education by looking at whether missing resources due to corruption affect student outcomes. We use data from the auditing of Brazil's local governments to construct objective measures of corruption involving educational block grants transferred from the central government to municipalities. Using variation in the incidence of corruption across municipalities and controlling for student, school, and municipal characteristics, we find a significant negative association between corruption and the school performance of primary school students. Students residing in municipalities where corruption in education was detected score 0.35 standard deviations less on standardized tests, and have significantly higher dropout and failure rates. Using a rich dataset of school infrastructure and teacher and principal questionnaires, we also find that school inputs such as computer labs, teaching supplies, and teacher training are reduced in the presence of corruption. Overall, our findings suggest that in environments where basic schooling resources are lacking, money does matter for student achievement.

Suggested Citation

Ferraz, Claudio and Finan, Frederico and Moreira, Diana, Corrupting Learning: Evidence from Missing Federal Education Funds in Brazil (June 2012). NBER Working Paper No. w18150, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2085137

Claudio Ferraz (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics ( email )

Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Institute of Applied Economic Research (IPEA) ( email )

Av. Presidente Antonio Carlos 51
16 andar, Castelo
RJ 20020-010 Rio de Janeiro
Brazil
+55 21 3804-8000 (Phone)
+55 21 2240-1920 (Fax)

Frederico Finan

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )

310 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Diana Moreira

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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