The Lost Human Capital: Teacher Knowledge and Student Learning in Africa

58 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2018

See all articles by Tessa Bold

Tessa Bold

Stockholm University - Institute for International Economic Studies (IIES)

Ezequiel Molina

World Bank

Deon Filmer

World Bank; World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Jakob Svensson

Stockholm University - Institute for International Economic Studies (IIES); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: May 2018

Abstract

In many low income countries, teachers do not master the subject they are teaching and children learn little from attending school. Using unique data from nationally representative surveys from seven Sub-Saharan African countries, we propose a methodology to assess the effect of teacher knowledge on student learning when panel data on students are not available. We show that data on test scores of the current and the previous year's teachers allows us to estimate a lower bound on the cumulative effect of teacher knowledge on student achievement. With further restrictions on the cumulative student achievement function we can also estimate bounds on both the contemporaneous effect of teacher content knowledge and the extent of fade out of the teachers' impact in earlier grades. We use these structural estimates to answer two questions. To what extent can shortfalls in teachers' content knowledge account for the large learning gap observed across countries? How much learning is lost because of misallocation?

Keywords: education production function, Human Capital

JEL Classification: I21, I25

Suggested Citation

Bold, Tessa and Molina, Ezequiel and Filmer, Deon and Svensson, Jakob, The Lost Human Capital: Teacher Knowledge and Student Learning in Africa (May 2018). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP12956, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3190176

Tessa Bold (Contact Author)

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

Stockholm, SE-10691
Sweden

Ezequiel Molina

World Bank ( email )

1818 H street NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Deon Filmer

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

HOME PAGE: http://go.worldbank.org/MRWPOHRQJ0

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Jakob Svensson

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

Stockholm, SE-10691
Sweden
+46 8 163 060 (Phone)
+46 8 161 443 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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