Essays on Education in Developing Countries

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Almost all countries subsidize education. These subsidies are generally designed to account for positive social returns to education and a recognition of education as a basic human right. Without subsidies, credit constraints may preclude children from attending school. While the availability of low-cost private schooling is increasing, it is likely that governments, through these subsidy programs, will be responsible for ensuring access to a quality education for all children.

The first two papers of my dissertation examine government implemented formal education policies in Kenya designed to improve access to secondary schooling and the quality of selected secondary schools, respectively. My first paper exploits the introduction of a free secondary education program to examine the demand response to a supply side government program to improve access as well as measure the impacts of secondary schooling on demographic and labor market outcomes. My second paper evaluates a school upgrade program designed to improve school quality at selected secondary schools.

In many developing countries formal education is often insufficient, however, to ensure that individuals are able to enter the formal labor market. With this in mind, in my third paper, I examine a multifaceted labor market intervention implemented by an international NGO that was designed to improve labor market outcomes for young women who have already completed or dropped out of formal schooling.