January 18, 2019
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Posted by NCID
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If you are born in the U.S. and your son goes to a public primary school, certainly he will go to a class with 10 to 25 fellow students. This teacher to student radio does only happen in 3 out of 10  schools in India, where ratios can go as up as one teacher per 80 students in 10% of the schools. This misallocation of teachers portrays later in educational outcomes, which could be improved if a better distribution of teachers would be done. 

These are the results of the investigation Misallocation of State Capacity? Evidence from Two Million Primary Schools undergone by Torsten Figueiredo Walter, PhD candidate at the London School of Economics (LSE). Walter presented his job market paper during his fly-out visit to the Navarra Center for International Development last Friday 18th of January after he was interviewed in Naples on the first European Economics Association Job Market last December.

The investigation covers a total of 86 countries and together with pupil-teacher ratio it also analyzes school location and pupil performance. "I find that variation in pupil-teacher ratios is negatively correlated with educational outcomes even once you control for differences in income, population and aggregate pupil-teacher ratios, both across countries and districts across countries. This suggests that there could be benefits to allocating teachers more equally across schools", Walter said. 

The misallocation of state capacity could hamper therefore the development of thousands of kids who are in a disadvantage compared to other citizens of their same country. Walter conducted this research by looking into the databases of every Ministry of Education of the countries he covered and contacting them for all the data. Comparing developed and developing countries, differences appeared. "My model projections suggest that gains from reallocation would be substantial in low income countries, but basically zero in high-income countries. Overall, this suggests there is misallocation of teachers and probably educational sources more generally in developing countries, which holds back education", he concluded.