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Reforming Educational Systems

IGC Growth Week 2010 public lecture

Michael Kremer discusses issues surrounding reform of education systems in developing countries based on evidence from studies on incentive mechanisms, peer effects and other interventions.

Across a range of contexts, reductions in education costs and provision of subsidies can boost school participation, often dramatically. Decisions to attend school seem subject to peer effects and time-inconsistent preferences. Merit scholarships, school health programs, and information about returns to education can all cost-effectively spur school participation. However, distortions in education systems, such as weak teacher incentives and elite-oriented curricula, undermine learning in school and much of the impact of increasing existing educational spending. Pedagogical innovations designed to address these distortions (such as technology-assisted instruction, remedial education, and tracking by achievement) can raise test scores at a low cost. Merely informing parents about school conditions seems insufficient to improve teacher incentives, and evidence on merit pay is mixed, but hiring teachers locally on short-term contracts can save money and improve educational outcomes. School vouchers can cost-effectively increase both school participation and learning.

Michael Kremer is the Gates Professor of Developing Societies in the Department of Economics at Harvard University and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Geeta Kingdon is chair of Education Economics and International Development at the Institute of Education.

Lansana Nyalley is Deputy Minister in the Education Division of the Government of Sierra Leone.

James Tooley is professor of Education Policy at Newcastle University.

This public event is part of Growth Week 2010, a three-day conference organised by the International Growth Centre (IGC). The previous public event is on 21 September at 6.30pm and is entitled Industrial Revolution or Agricultural Revolution?. The next event entitled Domestic Resource Mobilisation and Growth takes place at 6.30pm on 22 September.


Professor Michael Kremer | talks
Professor Geeta Kingdon | talks
Dr Lansana Nyalley | talks
Professor James Tooley | talks
Chair: Professor Steve Machin | talks


Date and Time:

22 September 2010 at 4:30 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



Sheikh Zayed Theatre
New Academic Building
London School of Economics and Political Science

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Organised by:

London School of Economics & Political Science
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Available from:

This event is free and open to all with no ticket required. Entry is on a first come, first served basis. For any queries email events@lse.ac.uk or call 020 7955 6043.

Additional Information:

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