School Decentralization: Helping the Good Get Better, but Leaving the Poor Behind

45 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2014

See all articles by Sebastian Galiani

Sebastian Galiani

University of Maryland - Department of Economics

Paul J. Gertler

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Ernesto Schargrodsky

Universidad Torcuato Di Tella

Date Written: June 14, 2014

Abstract

The decentralization of public services is a major feature of institutional innovation. The main argument in support of decentralization is that it brings decisions closer to the people, thereby alleviating information asymmetries and improving accountability. However, decentralization can also degrade service provision in poor communities that lack the ability to voice and defend their preferences. In this paper, we analyze the average and distributional effects of school decentralization on educational quality in Argentina. We find that decentralization had an overall positive impact on student test scores. The decentralization gains, however, did not reach the poor. Thus, although “bringing decisions closer to the people” may help the good get better, the already disadvantaged may not receive these benefits.

Keywords: decentralization, education, inequality

JEL Classification: H40, H52, H70, I20

Suggested Citation

Galiani, Sebastian and Gertler, Paul J. and Schargrodsky, Ernesto, School Decentralization: Helping the Good Get Better, but Leaving the Poor Behind (June 14, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2450613 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2450613

Sebastian Galiani (Contact Author)

University of Maryland - Department of Economics ( email )

College Park, MD 20742
United States

Paul J. Gertler

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business ( email )

545 Student Services Building, #1900
2220 Piedmont Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States
510-642-1418 (Phone)
510-642-4700 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Ernesto Schargrodsky

Universidad Torcuato Di Tella ( email )

Minones 2159
1428 Buenos Aires, 1428
Argentina
+54 11 4784 0080 (Phone)
+54 11 4783 3220 (Fax)

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
171
rank
163,951
Abstract Views
528
PlumX