Access, sorting and achievement: the short‐run effects of free primary education in Kenya

Author(s): Lucas, Adrienne M.; Mbiti, Isaac M.

Date: 2012

Pages: 19 p. + 18 p.


The authors examine the impact of the Kenyan Free Primary Education program on student participation, sorting, and achievement on the primary school exit examination. Exploiting variation in pre-program dropout rates between districts they find that the program increased the number of students who completed primary school, spurred private school entry, and increased access for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. They argue that the program was welfare enhancing as it promoted educational access without substantially reducing the test scores of students who would have been in school in the absence of the program.

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