Do Poor Students Benefit from China's Merger Program? Transfer Path and Educational Performance

Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 2013, DOI: 10.1080/02188791.2013.790781

Posted: 14 Nov 2013 Last revised: 19 Mar 2014

See all articles by Xinxin Chen

Xinxin Chen

Zhejiang Gongshang University (ZJGSU)

Hongmei Yi

School of Advanced Agricultural Sciences, Peking University

Linxiu Zhang

Chinese Academy of Sciences - Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy

Di Mo

Catholic University of Leuven (KUL) - Faculty of Business and Economics (FBE) - LICOS Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance

James Chu

Stanford University, Department of Sociology, Students; Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies

Scott Rozelle

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute of International Studies

Date Written: August 1, 2013

Abstract

Aiming to provide better education facilities and improve the educational attainment of poor rural students, China’s government has been merging remote rural primary schools into centralized village, town, or county schools since the late 1990s. To accompany the policy, boarding facilities have been constructed that allow (mandate) primary school-aged children to live at school rather than at home. More generally, there also have been efforts to improve rural schools, especially those in counties and towns. Unfortunately, little empirical work has been available to evaluate the impact of the new merger and investment programmes on the educational performance of students. Drawing on a unique dataset that records both the path by which students navigate their primary school years (i.e., which different types of schools did students attend) as well as math test scores in three poverty-stricken counties, we use descriptive statistics and multivariate analysis (both Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) and covariate matching) to analyse the relationship between different transfer paths and student educational performance. This allows us to examine the costs and benefits of the school merger and investment programmes. The results of the analysis show that students who attend county schools perform systematically better than those who attend village or town schools. However, completing primary school in town schools seems to have no effect on students’ academic performance. Surprisingly, starting primary education in a teaching point does not hurt rural students; on the contrary, it increases their test scores in some cases. Finally, in terms of the boarding effect, the neutral estimate in OLS and the negative estimate in covariate matching results confirm that boarding at school does not help the students; in some cases it may even reduce their academic performance.

Keywords: Merger Program, transfer path, educational performance, rural China

Suggested Citation

Chen, Xinxin and Yi, Hongmei and Zhang, Linxiu and Mo, Di and Chu, James and Rozelle, Scott, Do Poor Students Benefit from China's Merger Program? Transfer Path and Educational Performance (August 1, 2013). Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 2013, DOI: 10.1080/02188791.2013.790781. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2353605

Xinxin Chen (Contact Author)

Zhejiang Gongshang University (ZJGSU)

Zhejiang
China

Hongmei Yi

School of Advanced Agricultural Sciences, Peking University ( email )

Room 412, Wangkezhen Buidling, Peking Unviersity
Beijing, 100871
China

Linxiu Zhang

Chinese Academy of Sciences - Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy ( email )

Anwai, Beijing, 100101
China

Di Mo

Catholic University of Leuven (KUL) - Faculty of Business and Economics (FBE) - LICOS Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance ( email )

Waaistraat 6 - box 3511
Leuven, 3000
Belgium

James Chu

Stanford University, Department of Sociology, Students ( email )

Stanford
United States

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Scott Rozelle

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute of International Studies ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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