- Can provision of free school uniforms harm attendance? Evidence from Ecuador
- Journal of Development Economics
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB)
- Amsterdam School of Economics Research Institute (ASE-RI)
To raise school participation, many programs in developing countries eliminate or reduce private contributions to education. Using data from a randomized experiment in Ecuador, we ironically find that announcing a free school uniform program had a negative impact on attendance. The school uniforms were distributed in only 63% of the schools that were told that they would get them, thus this negative impact could have been generated by creating false expectations of free distribution, or also by a sunk cost effect on those who did actually receive the uniforms.
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