We assess whether financing can help private schools, which now account for one-third of primary school enrollment in low- and middle-income countries. Our experiment allocated unconditional cash grants to either one (L) or all (H) private schools in a village. In both arms, enrollment and revenues increased, leading to above- market returns. However, test scores increased only in H schools, accompanied by higher fees, and a greater focus on teachers. We provide a model demonstrating that market forces can provide endogenous incentives to increase quality and increased financial saturation can be used to leverage competition, generating socially desirable outcomes.
Andrabi, Tahir, Jishnu Das, Asim I. Khwaja, Selcuk Ozyurt, and Niharika Singh. "Upping the Ante: The Equilibrium Effects of Unconditional Grants to Private Schools." American Economic Review 110.10 (October 2020): 3315-3349.