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“The Impact of Free Secondary Education: Experimental Evidence from Ghana”
10th Jul 2019 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Following the widespread adoption of free primary education, African policymakers are now considering making secondary school free. This paper estimates the impact of secondary school scholarships for rural Ghanaians who had finished middle school and qualified academically for senior high school but had not enrolled.
Scholarships increase educational attainment (at the secondary and the tertiary levels), knowledge, skills, and preventative health behaviors, while reducing fertility. Effects are overall more pronounced for women. Point estimates suggest marginal girls induced to attend secondary school by free education are as likely to progress to tertiary education as inframarginal girls who would enroll in secondary school in any case but this is not the case for marginal boys. Nine years after receipt of the scholarship, winners show private labor market gains, but these may at least partially reflect better access to jobs with rents.
Scholarship winners are more likely to have a long-term employment contract, more likely to be a public employee, more likely to have a job with benefits, and have less variability in earnings over time. Non-experimental machine learning estimates of the returns to education do not systematically match IV estimates based on random scholarship assignment.
About the Presenter
Pascaline Dupas is a Professor of Economics at Stanford University. She is a development economist seeking to identify interventions and policies that can help reduce global poverty. Her ongoing research include studies of education policy in Ghana, family planning policy in Burkina Faso, digital credit regulation in Malawi, and government subsidized health insurance in India, among others.
Dupas joined the Stanford faculty in 2011, after spending two years on the faculty at Dartmouth College and three years at UCLA. She is on the executive committee of the Jameel Poverty Action Lab (JPAL), on the board of directors of the Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD), and a Research Associate at the National Bureau for Economic Research (NBER). Dupas obtained a PhD in Economics from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris in 2006.
“The Impact of Free Secondary Education: Experimental Evidence from Ghana” (joint with Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer)