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Inputs, Incentives, and Complementarities in Education: Experimental Evidence from Tanzania

Isaac Mbiti, Karthik Muralidharan, Mauricio Romero, Youdi Schipper, Constantine Manda, Rakesh Rajani

NBER Working Paper No. 24876
Issued in July 2018, Revised in January 2019
NBER Program(s):The Program on Children, The Development Economics Program, The Education Program, The Labor Studies Program, The Public Economics Program

We present results from a large-scale randomized experiment across 350 schools in Tanzania that studied the impact of providing schools with (a) unconditional grants, (b) teacher incentives based on student performance, and (c) both of the above. After two years, we find (a) no impact on student test scores from providing school grants, (b) some evidence of positive effects from teacher incentives, and (c) significant positive effects from providing both programs. Most importantly, we find strong evidence of complementarities between the two programs, with the effect of joint provision being significantly greater than the sum of the individual effects. Our results suggest that combining spending on school inputs (which is the default policy) with improved teacher incentives could substantially increase the cost-effectiveness of public spending on education.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w24876

Published: Isaac Mbiti & Karthik Muralidharan & Mauricio Romero & Youdi Schipper & Constantine Manda & Rakesh Rajani, 2019. "Inputs, Incentives, and Complementarities in Education: Experimental Evidence from Tanzania*," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, vol 134(3), pages 1627-1673.

 
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