Template-Type: ReDIF-Paper 1.0 Series: Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers Creation-Date: 2010-10-14 Number: 10-103/3 Author-Name: Diana Hidalgo Author-Workplace-Name: University of Amsterdam, and TIER Author-Name: Mercedes Onofa Author-Workplace-Name: FLASCO-Ecuador Author-Name: Hessel Oosterbeek Author-Workplace-Name: University of Amsterdam Author-Name: Juan Ponce Author-Workplace-Name: FLASCO-Ecuador Title: Can Provision of Free School Uniforms harm Attendance? Evidence from Ecuador Abstract: This discussion paper resulted in an article in the Journal of Development Economics (2013). Volume 103, pages 43-51.
To raise school attendance, many programs in developing countries eliminate orreduce private contributions to education. This paper documents an unintendednegative effect of such programs. Using data from a randomized experiment thatprovides free uniforms to primary school children in Ecuador, we find that the interventionhas a significantly negative impact on attendance. An explanation is thatparents who pay for their children’s uniforms (the control group) feel more committedto the school than parents who got the uniforms for free (the treated) andtherefore encourage their children to attend school. Consistent with this sunk costeffect, we find that the impact is largest shortly after the purchase of the uniform,and during the end-of-year exam period when more is at stake. Classification-JEL: I22, I38, O15, H52 Keywords: Uniforms, school attendance, sunk-cost effect, Ecuador File-Url: http://papers.tinbergen.nl/10103.pdf File-Format: application/pdf File-Size: 297464 bytes Handle: RePEc:tin:wpaper:20100103