Can Free Provision Reduce Demand for Public Services?


Content Type:

Policy report

Education Level:

Primary Education



Related Content

Can Free Provision Reduce Demand for Public Services?: Evidence from Kenyan Education

  • DOI:
  • ISBN:
    978-1-4742-0979-3 (online)
  • Date of Publication:
  • Published Online:
  • Printer/Publisher:
    World Bank Group
Can Free Provision Reduce Demand for Public Services?
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In 2003 Kenya abolished user fees in all government primary schools. Analysis of household survey data shows this policy contributed to a shift in demand away from free schools, where net enrollment stagnated after 2003, toward fee-charging private schools, where both enrollment and fee levels grew rapidly after 2003. These shifts had mixed distributional consequences. Enrollment by poorer households increased, but segregation between socio-economic groups also increased. The shift in demand toward private schooling was driven by more affluent households who (i) paid higher ex ante fees and thus experienced a larger reduction in school funding, and (ii) appear to have exited public schools partially in reaction to increased enrollment by poorer children.