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Does Money Matter for Student Performance? Evidence from a Grant Program in Uganda

Martina Björkman

No 326, Working Papers from IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University

Abstract: In response to extensive corruption in the education sector, the Government of Uganda began to publish newspaper ads on the timing and amount of funds disbursed to the districts. The intent of the campaign was to boost schools' and parents' ability to monitor the local officials in charge of disbursing funds to the schools. The mass information campaign was successful. But since newspaper penetration varies greatly across districts, the exposure to information about the program, and thus funding, differ across districts. I use this variation in program exposure between districts to evaluate whether public funds have an effect on student performance. The results show that money matters: On average, students in districts highly exposed to the information campaign, and hence to the grant program, scored 0.40 standard deviations better in the Primary Leaving Exam (PLE) than students in districts less exposed to information. The results are robust to controlling for a broad range of confounding factors.

Date: 2007
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