EC966 – Assessment 2 – Essay – 2016-2017

Assessment 2: Research-informed policy note

EC966 – Labour Economics – 2016-2017

Answers will be precise and concise (while remaining grammatically correct). The number of words for the answer is limited to 1,000 words. For this question, you are free to use the resources from the library.

You have been hired to advise the government of a developing African country. Their school system has caught up to international standards as far as school attendance in primary schools is concerned, but they feel they are still lacking behind in terms of the quality of the education delivered. The Minister of Education wants to dedicate a substantial increase of the budget to improve education quality. Two internal advisors are in disagreement. The first one proposes to allocate the funds to reduce class size uniformly. The second one wants to increase teachers’ wages.

The Minister asks you to write a short policy note, informed by the latest research on the topic, in order to help decide what should be done with the funds. You will first briefly review the most relevant items of the theoretical and empirical literature. Then, you will discuss the relevance of each proposed policy. Importantly, you are allowed to have a nuanced opinion, highlighting where evidence is strong and where it is weak. You are also allowed to fine-tune the proposed policies, if you make the point that these changes in the design are likely to improve efficiency.

You will not use equations in this note. Still, the Minister likes to read some formal reasoning and appreciates precise academic references (authors’ names, year, and name of the journal if ambiguous), but you will not cite more than 10 references. Concision and precision will be carefully considered. Vague and unjustified statements will be penalised, as well as elements not directly related to the question.