03. Journals

2,963 items available

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These are journal articles published in World Bank journals as well as externally by World Bank authors.
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    Persistent Misallocation and the Returns to Education in Mexico
    (Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the World Bank, 2020-06) Levy, Santiago ; López-Calva, Luis F.
    Over the last two decades, Mexico has experienced macroeconomic stability, an open trade regime, and substantial progress in education. Yet average workers’ earnings have stagnated, and earnings of those with higher schooling have fallen, compressing the earnings distribution and lowering the returns to education. This paper argues that distortions that misallocate resources toward less-productive firms explain these phenomena, because these firms are less intensive in well-educated workers compared with more-productive ones. It shows that while the relative supply of workers with more years of schooling has increased, misallocation of resources toward less-productive firms has persisted. These two trends have generated a widening mismatch between the supply of, and the demand for, educated workers. The paper breaks down worker earnings into observable and unobservable firm and individual worker characteristics, and computes a counterfactual earnings distribution in the absence of misallocation. The main finding is that in the absence of misallocation average earnings would be higher, and that earnings differentials across schooling levels would widen, raising the returns to education. A no-misallocation path is constructed for the wage premium. Depending on parameter values, this path is found to be rising or constant, in contrast to the observed downward path. The paper concludes arguing that the persistence of misallocation impedes Mexico from taking full advantage of its investments in the education of its workforce.
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    Training to Teach Science: Experimental Evidence from Argentina
    (Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the World Bank, 2020-06) Albornoz, Facundo ; Anauati, María Victoria ; Furman, Melina ; Luzuriaga, Mariana ; Podestá, María Eugenia ; Taylor, Inés
    This paper evaluates the learning impact of different teacher training methods using a randomized controlled trial implemented in 70 state schools in Buenos Aires, Argentina. A control group receiving standard teacher training was compared with two alternative treatment arms: providing a structured curriculum unit or receiving both the unit and weekly coaching. Following a 12-week intervention, there are substantial learning gains for students whose teachers were trained using structured curriculum units, as well as for those whose teachers received coaching (between 55 percent and 64 percent of a standard deviation more than those students in the control group). Coaching teachers does not appear to be cost-effective, as the unit cost per 0.1 standard deviation is more than twice the cost of using only the structured curriculum unit. However, additional coaching is particularly beneficial for inexperienced teachers with less than two years of teaching science. Coaching teachers also showed specific gains for girls, who both learned and declared to enjoy science lessons more. High-performing students especially benefited from both interventions, with students from coached teachers performing particularly well in harder questions. Using structured curriculum units and providing coaching also affected teacher perceptions: teachers expressed that they enjoyed teaching science more and taught more hours of science, and that their students developed more skills. Results from a follow-up survey suggest persistent change in teacher practice, with the vast majority reporting using the structured curriculum unit one year after the intervention.
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    Changing Pedagogy to Improve Skills in Preschools: Experimental Evidence from Peru
    (Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the World Bank, 2019-12-11) Gallego, Francisco A. ; Näslund-Hadley, Emma ; Alfonso, Mariana
    Changing pedagogical practices is a promising, cost-effective avenue for improving education in developing countries, especially when done without changing current inputs such as teachers and instruction time. This article presents the results of a randomized evaluation of a program that aimed at changing the pedagogical approach used to teach the existing national mathematics curriculum. The program provides tools to regular preschool teachers to use an inquiry- and problem-based learning approach to tailor instruction to preschoolers in Peru. The results show an improvement of overall mathematics outcomes, which persist for some content areas even one year after the program ended. In contrast to results from previous research that suggest mathematics programs are biased along gender and socioeconomic lines, there is no evidence of differential effects by gender, language spoken at home, or proxies for socioeconomic status. Results also imply persistent stronger impacts on students whose teachers have university degrees.
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    Shoeing the Children: The Impact of the TOMS Shoe Donation Program in Rural El Salvador
    (Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the World Bank, 2018-10) Wydick, Bruce ; Katz, Elizabeth ; Calvo, Flor ; Gutierrez, Felipe ; Janet, Brendan
    We carry out a cluster-randomized trial among 1,578 children from 979 households in rural El Salvador to test the impacts of TOMS shoe donations on children’s time allocation, school attendance, health, self-esteem, and aid dependency. Results indicate high levels of usage and approval of the shoes by children in the treatment group, and time diaries show modest evidence that the donated shoes allocated children’s time toward outdoor activities.Difference-in-difference and ANCOVA estimates find generally insignificant impacts on overall health, foot health, and self-esteem but small positive impacts on school attendance for boys. Children receiving the shoes were significantly more likely to state that outsiders should provide for the needs of their family. Thus, in a context where most children already own at least one pair of shoes, the overall impact of the shoe donation program appears to be negligible, illustrating the importance of more careful targeting of in-kind donation programs.
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    Predicting School Dropout with Administrative Data: New Evidence from Guatemala and Honduras
    (Taylor and Francis, 2018) Adelman, Melissa ; Haimovich, Francisco ; Ham, Andres ; Vazquez, Emmanuel
    School dropout is a growing concern across Latin America because of its negative social and economic consequences. Identifying who is likely to drop out, and therefore could be targeted for interventions, is a well-studied prediction problem in countries with strong administrative data. In this paper, we use new data in Guatemala and Honduras to estimate some of the first dropout prediction models for lower-middle income countries. These models correctly identify 80% of sixth grade students who will drop out within the next year, performing better than other commonly used targeting approaches and as well as models used in the United States.
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    The Effect of a Transfer Program for the Elderly in Mexico City on Co-Residing Children's School Enrollment
    (Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the World Bank, 2017-10-01) Gutierrez, Emilio ; Juarez, Laura ; Rubli, Adrian
    A regression discontinuity analysis is used to test whether a sharp increase in the government transfers received by households, induced by a pension program for individuals age 70 and older in Mexico City, affects co-residing children's school enrollment. Results show that while household composition and other characteristics do not change significantly at the cutoff age for program eligibility, school enrollment increases significantly. This suggests that households may be credit constrained, as the sharp increase in government transfers is known and anticipated by individuals below the cutoff age.
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    Maximizing Child Development: Three Principles for Policymakers
    (Taylor and Francis, 2016-11-03) Caceres, Susan ; Tanner, Jeffrey ; Williams, Sian
    This policy note advances three inter-related principles to guide policy-makers and agents in international development organizations to prioritize their actions. These principles are drawn from findings from two Early Childhood Development (ECD) reports recently completed by the World Bank Independent Evaluation Group—one on the World Bank support for ECD and the other a systematic review of the sustained effects of early childhood interventions. The principles are: Support the Early Development of Children, Starting from Birth; Support Parents Through Existing Services; Make Resources Available to Meet Needs of the Most Vulnerable. These principles imply a new emphasis on development beyond survival with effective, evidence-informed interventions. The policy implications also mean starting with what exists in services in health and protection for vulnerable families and augmenting these with parenting support and education components so that children’s risks are reduced and more poor children will be ready to enter primary school at the appropriate age and to persist through schooling and thrive in the labor market.
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    Decentralization of Health and Education in Developing Countries: A Quality-Adjusted Review of the Empirical Literature
    (Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the World Bank, 2016-08) Channa, Anila ; Faguet, Jean-Paul
    We review empirical evidence on the ability of decentralization to enhance preference matching and technical efficiency in the provision of health and education in developing countries. Many influential surveys have found that the empirical evidence of decentralization's effects on service delivery is weak, incomplete, and often contradictory. Our own unweighted reading of the literature concurs. However, when we organize quantitative evidence first by substantive theme, and then—crucially—by empirical quality and the credibility of its identification strategy, clear patterns emerge. Higher-quality evidence indicates that decentralization increases technical efficiency across a variety of public services, from student test scores to infant mortality rates. Decentralization also improves preference matching in education, and can do so in health under certain conditions, although there is less evidence for both. We discuss individual studies in some detail. Weighting by quality is especially important when quantitative evidence informs policy-making. Firmer conclusions will require an increased focus on research design, and a deeper examination into the prerequisites and mechanisms of successful reforms.
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    The Effect of Publicly Provided Health Insurance on Education Outcomes in Mexico
    (Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the World Bank, 2016-04-21) Alcaraz, Carlo ; Chiquiar, Daniel ; Orraca, Maria Jose ; Salcedo, Alejandrina
    In this paper we study the causal effect of a large expansion of publicly provided health insurance on school enrollment rates and on children’s academic performance using the case of Mexico. Access to free health insurance could improve education outcomes directly by making household members healthier or indirectly by raising the amount of resources available for education expenses. Using a panel of municipalities from 2007 to 2010, we find that the expansion of the Mexican public health insurance program, Seguro Popular, had a large positive, statistically significant effect on school enrollment rates and on standardized test scores.
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    Preschool Education in Brazil: Does Public Supply Crowd Out Private Enrollment?
    (Elsevier, 2016-02) Bastos, Paulo ; Straume, Odd Rune
    Expanding access to preschool education is a particularly important policy issue in developing countries, where enrollment rates are generally much lower, and where private institutions constitute a much larger share of the formal preschool sector, than in developed countries. This paper examines if an expansion in the supply of public preschool crowds-out private enrollment using rich data for municipalities in Brazil from 2000 to 2006, where federal transfers to local governments change discontinuously with given population thresholds. Results from a regression-discontinuity design reveal that larger federal transfers lead to a significant expansion of local public preschool services, but show no evidence of crowding-out of private enrollment, nor of negative impacts on the quality of private providers. This finding is consistent with a theory in which households differ in willingness-to-pay for preschool services, and private suppliers optimally adjust prices in response to an expansion of lower-quality, free-of-charge public supply. In the context of the model, the absence of crowding-out effects of more public preschool providers can be rationalized by the existence of relatively large differences in willingness-to-pay for preschool services across different demand segments. Our theoretical and empirical findings therefore suggest that in developing country settings characterized by relatively high income inequality, an expansion in public preschool supply will likely significantly increase enrollment among the poorest segments of society, and need not have adverse effects on the quantity or quality of local private supply.