Students Today, Teachers Tomorrow? Identifying Constraints on the Provision of Education

Date Published:

Sep 1, 2007


With an estimated one hundred and fifteen million children not attending primary school in the developing world, increasing access to education is critical. Resource constraints limit the extent to which demand based subsidies can do so. This paper focuses on a supply-side factor—the availability of low cost teachers—and the resulting ability of the market to offer affordable education. We use data from Pakistan together with official public school construction guidelines to present an Instrumental Variables estimate of the effect of government school construction on private school formation. We find that private schools are three times more likely to emerge in villages with government girls’ secondary schools. In contrast, there is little or no relationship between the presence of a private school and pre-existing girls’ primary, or boys’ primary and secondary schools. Moreover, there are twice as many educated women and private school teachers’ wages are 18 percent lower in villages that received a government girls’ secondary school. In an environment with poor female education and low mobility, government girls’ secondary schools substantially increase the local supply of skilled women. This lowers wages for women in the local labor market and allows the market to offer affordable education. These findings highlight the prominent role of women as teachers in facilitating educational access and resonates with similar historical evidence from developed economies—the students of today are the teachers of tomorrow.


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