The Economics of Student Attrition in Senegal

The Consequences of Resource Scarcity and a Case for Financial Reform

Note from the Digital Editor: In order to highlight the high-level of research and scholarship from the authors who have published in the William & Mary Policy Review’s peer-reviewed print journal, we have reproduced the abstracts from Volume 2, Issue 2 along with a link to an electronic copy of the full form of the piece. 

(image by U.S. Department of Education)

Using human capital theory and the signaling and screening hypothesis, I develop a model of pre-secondary student attrition that explains how a shortage of educational supply, rather than demand, is the primary cause of pre-secondary student attrition in Senegal. Qualified Senegalese students otherwise willing to continue their formal studies are unable to do so because of a lack of private and public financial resources. The Senegalese state magnifies this attrition. Acting as a monopolist, the state inefficiently overinvests in tertiary education to the detriment of basic education funding, especially at the lower-secondary level. I highlight three policy implications: (1) the case for cost sharing programs at the tertiary level, (2) the potential gains from improvement in primary school efficiency, and (3) the need to prepare pre-secondary student dropouts for early entry into the labor market.

Find the full version of this article in PDF form here.

Zachary Rice is B.A. / M.P.P. at the College of William & Mary, 2011.

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