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Electoral impacts of quality improvements in basic education: evidence from Brazilian municipalities
Date: 12:30 03 October 2011 - 13:30 03 October 2011
Type: IFS Seminar
Venue: Institute for Fiscal Studies  [see map]
Price: members: Free; nonmembers: Free

School accountability systems that establish the adoption of incentives for teachers and school managers usually impact students' performance. However, in many circumstances, school accountability systems may face institutional restrictions to establish rewards and sanctions to administrators. In that aspect, the Brazilian accountability system is an interesting example: Most of primary public schools are run by municipal officials and federal government cannot enforce the adoption of incentives at local level. However, because mayors of Brazilian municipalities are the ultimate responsible for basic public education we provide evidence that in 2008 election, just some months after the publication of the second wave of a new evaluation of public schools run every two years by federal government, mayors became electorally accountable for not improving school quality. The results show that, on average, one point increase in a 0-10 scale index from 2005 to 2007 increased by around 4.5 pp. the probability of re-election. This effect is even greater in cities with lower income and those where the fraction of children at school age is higher. Therefore, electoral accountability may play a complementary role in school accountability systems that has not been fully exploited by education and political economics and political science literatures.

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