Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dr. Jorge L. Martinez-Vazquez - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Robert M. McNab

Third Advisor

Dr. David L. Sjoquist

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Mary Beth Walker


This dissertation examines, both theoretically and empirically, the impact of expenditure decentralization and decision-making in education on education output measured through net enrollment rates, repetition rates, dropout rates, completion rates, and test scores in science at the primary school level. We develop a theoretical model based on a behavioral production function model that investigates the potential direct effects of education decentralization on output, and indirect effects of education decentralization through its impact on family, school and teacher inputs. We develop an unbalanced panel data model of education decentralization by using various econometric estimators on a dataset of fifty-nine countries, developed and developing countries, covering the period 1970-2004 in five-year intervals. The empirical analysis in this dissertation improves upon previous empirical studies of education decentralization by using up-to-date comparative international data over time on measures of education decentralization and various indicators of primary schooling. We find empirical support that expenditure decentralization in education significantly improves repetition rates, dropout rates, completion rates and test scores at the primary school level. We are unable to find a significant effect on primary net enrollment rates. Further, we find that decisions on education planning and personnel management have a greater influence on education output when taken at the intermediate level of government (states and provinces). At the same time we find that allocating decisions on education at the school level can also significantly improve education output. Our empirical results support the hypothesized positive link between education decentralization and education outcomes. Additionally, this study is consistent with the recent trend towards decentralizing education around the world.


Included in

Economics Commons