OECD Economics Department Working Papers

Working papers from the Economics Department of the OECD that cover the full range of the Department’s work including the economic situation, policy analysis and projections; fiscal policy, public expenditure and taxation; and structural issues including ageing, growth and productivity, migration, environment, human capital, housing, trade and investment, labour markets, regulatory reform, competition, health, and other issues.

The views expressed in these papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the OECD or of the governments of its member countries.

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Policy Determinants of School Outcomes Under Model Uncertainty

Evidence from South Africa

In this paper we assess the determinants of secondary school outcomes in South Africa. We use Bayesian Averaging Model techniques to account for uncertainty in the set of underlying factors that are chosen among a very large pool of explanatory variables in order to minimize the risk of omitted variable bias. Our analysis indicates that the socioeconomic background of pupils, demographic characteristics such as population groups (Black and White) as well as geographical locations account for a significant variation in pupils’ achievement levels. We also find that the most robust policy determinants of pupils’ test scores are the availability of a library at school, the use of IT in the classroom as well as school climate. This Working Paper relates to the 2013 OECD Economic Survey of South Africa (http://www.oecd.org/eco/surveys/southafrica2013.htm).


Keywords: South Africa, education, Bayesian model averaging
JEL: H4: Public Economics / Publicly Provided Goods; O2: Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth / Development Planning and Policy; I2: Health, Education, and Welfare / Education and Research Institutions; C2: Mathematical and Quantitative Methods / Single Equation Models; Single Variables
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