Journal Article

Can Free Provision Reduce Demand for Public Services? Evidence from Kenyan Education *

Tessa Bold, Mwangi Kimenyi, Germano Mwabu and Justin Sandefur

in The World Bank Economic Review

Volume 29, issue 2, pages 293-326
Published in print June 2015 | ISSN: 0258-6770
Published online January 2014 | e-ISSN: 1564-698X | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/wber/lht038
Can Free Provision Reduce Demand for Public Services? Evidence from Kenyan Education
*

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  • National Government Expenditures and Related Policies
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In 2003 Kenya abolished user fees in all government primary schools. We show that this policy contributed to a shift in demand away from free schools, where net enrollment stagnated after 2003, toward fee-charging private schools, where both enrollment and fee levels grew rapidly after 2003. These shifts had mixed distributional consequences. Enrollment by poorer households increased, but segregation between socio-economic groups also increased. We find evidence that the shift in demand toward private schooling was driven by more affluent households who (i) paid higher ex ante fees and thus experienced a larger reduction in school funding, and (ii) exited public schools in reaction to increased enrollment by poorer children.

Keywords: H52; I22; O15

Journal Article.  13847 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: National Government Expenditures and Related Policies ; Education and Research Institutions ; Economic Development

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