Do investments in education today depend on access to education tomorrow? In 2015, Tanzania abolished fees in public secondary schools, creating an opportunity to study at the effect of increased secondary school access on primary student learning at scale. Using the universe of Tanzanian standardized test results, I first confirm that the reform increased secondary school access: secondary enrollments rose, primary scores became a better predictor of secondary transition, and the elite advantage in transition rate disappeared. I then examine the impact of the secondary fee abolition on primary learning, using data on exam fee non-payments to define “treated” students as those from ex-ante financially constrained families. Difference-in-difference estimation using ward and year fixed effects shows that the reform increased pass rates by 2 percentage points and transition to secondary school by 3 percentage points. This demonstrates that primary education decisions in this context are forward-looking, and that free secondary education programs may have greater benefits than previously understood.
LocationEdificio Central Aula 30
SpeakerWayne Sandholtz (Nova School of Business and Economics)
Secondary School Access Raises Primary School Achievement in Tanzania