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Working Paper 278 - Education resources and the quality of local governance in Africa


We investigate the extent to which the quality of educational resources responds to the quality of governance in local government offices in Africa. We distinguish between learning resources that are more related to school enrolment and to drop-out rates, such as school fees and facilities, and those that are more related to quality of learning outcomes, such as textbook availability, teacher absenteeism or quality of teaching. Our subjective indicators of local governance are measured at the regional/provincial level, which is the smallest geographical location in our pooled Afrobarometer dataset. Our findings indicate that the quality of local governance has a similar effect on either type of learning resource, and that corrupt behaviors and ineffectiveness by local government officials increase the probability of the local inhabitants experiencing poor quality or lack of school resources, even after controlling for government expenditure on education. Our cross-region analysis with instrumental variables reports that a one-point increase in the measure of local government corruption is associated with an increase of about 0.4 to 0.7 points in the proportion of people who face poor quality or low levels of human or physical school resources in their local public schools. These values vary between 0.3 and 0.4 points for a onepoint increase in the measure of local government ineffectiveness.

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