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Does Money Matter for Student Performance? Evidence from a Grant Program in Uganda

Number: 326
Year: 2007
Author(s): Martina Bjrkman
In response to extensive corruption in the education sector, the Government
of Uganda began to publish newspaper ads on the timing and amount of funds
disbursed to the districts. The intent of the campaign was to boost schools' and
parents' ability to monitor the local officials in charge of disbursing funds to the
schools. The mass information campaign was successful. But since newspaper
penetration varies greatly across districts, the exposure to information about the
program, and thus funding, dier across districts. I use this variation in program
exposure between districts to evaluate whether public funds have an effect on
student performance. The results show that money matters: On average, stu-
dents in districts highly exposed to the information campaign, and hence to the
grant program, scored 0.40 standard deviations better in the Primary Leaving
Exam (PLE) than students in districts less exposed to information. The results
are robust to controlling for a broad range of confounding factors.

Keywords: Primary education; Capitation grant; Test scores; Uganda
JEL codes: O12, I28, I22