On Government Effectiveness: Organizational and Governance Limitations on the Delivery of Education
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AbstractThese essays discuss organizational and governance issues that limit the effectiveness of governments, with an emphasis on the provision of public education in Brazil. Chapter 1 provides evidence of one benefit of environments that recognize performance, which government organizations often fail to do. I show that recognizing a high-achieving student increases the performance of the recognized student and his high-achieving classmates. The results are consistent with the explanation that the award changes classmates' perceptions of themselves, which promotes a high-performance mindset (i.e., shaping students' perceptions about ability, goals within reach and interests). Chapter 2 studies political transitions in an environment where politicians control the appointment of bureaucrats. We show that a change in the political party of local governments adversely affects the quality of education, measured by student achievement. Party turnover leads to disruptions in the operation of the school, increasing the replacement rate of teachers and headmasters and leading to the termination of school programs. This finding highlights the costs of allowing political control over bureaucracies: the control results in disruption of personnel and programs. Chapter 3 shows a negative association between incidences of corruption in educational funds in municipalities and student achievement in municipal schools. The results suggest that both mismanagement and lack of resources due to corruption matter for the quality of public education.
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