January 2016

IZA DP No. 9687: Can Parental Migration Reduce Petty Corruption in Education?

Educational outcomes of children are highly dependent on household and school-level inputs. In poor countries remittances from migrants can provide additional funds for the education of the left behind. At the same time the absence of migrant parents can affect families' time allocation towards education. Previous work on education inputs often implicitly assumed that preferences for different kinds of education inputs remain unchanged when household members migrate. Using survey data and matched administrative school-level public expenditures from the World Bank's Open Budget Initiative (BOOST) from Moldova, one of the countries with the highest emigration rates in the world, and an instrumental variable approach we find that the strongest migration-related response in private education expenditure are substantially lower informal payments to public school teachers. This fact is at odds with a positive income effect due to migration. In addition we find that migration slightly increases caregivers' time spent on their children's education. We argue that our results are likely to be driven by changing preferences towards educational inputs induced by migration.