Published papers

Cilliers, Dunford, and Habyarimana. “What do education local bureaucrats do to boost learning?World Bank Economic Review. 2022
See also: Working paper

Barrera-Osorio, Cilliers, Cloutier, and Filmer. “Heterogenous teacher effects of two incentive schemes: Experimental evidence from a low-income countryJournal of Development Economics 2022
See also: VoxDev blog and working paper

Cilliers, Fleisch, Kotze, Mohohlwane, Taylor, and Thulare. “Can Virtual Replace In-person Coaching? Experimental Evidence on Teacher Professional Development and Student Learning in South Africa“. Journal of Development Economics 2022
See also: Working paper, video presentation, and VoxDev blog

Cilliers, Fleisch, Kotze, Mohohlwane, Thulare Taylor. “The Challenge of Sustaining Effective Teaching: Spillovers, Fade-out, and the Cost-effectiveness of Teacher Development ProgramsEconomics of Education Review. 2022
See also: Working paper and replication files,

Cilliers, Mbiti, and Zeitlin. “Can public rankings improve school performance? Evidence from a nationwide reform in TanzaniaJournal of Human Resources. 2020.
See also: Working paper, blog and replication files

Cilliers, Fleish, Prinsloo, and Taylor. “How to improve teaching practice? Experimental comparison of centralized training and in-classroom coaching.Journal of Human Resources 2020.
See also: Working paper, policy brief, replication files, video, and a write-up by CfEE.

Cilliers, Kasirye, Leaver, Serneels, and Zeitlin. “Pay for locally monitored performance? A welfare analysis for attendance in Ugandan primary schools”. Journal of Public Economics. 2018.
See also: Working paper, policy brief, blog post, and replication files.

Baum, D. & Cilliers, J. “Private schools vouchers for expanding secondary school access? The case of TanzaniaInternational Journal of Educational Management. 32.7 (2018): 1307-1318.

Cilliers, Dube, and Siddiqi. “Reconciling after Civil Conflict Increases Social Capital but Decreases Individual WellbeingScience. 352.6287 (2016): 787-794.
See also: Blog in the Monkey Cage (Washington Post) and replication files.

Cilliers, Dube, and Siddiqi. “The White-Man Effect: How Foreigner Presence Affects Behavior in Experiments.Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. 118 (2015): 397-414.
See also: Blog post

Working papers

Baum, Cilliers, Jeffrey, Rawle, Weah, and McLaren. “Improving Curriculum Adoption and Reducing Overage Enrollment in Pre-Primary Schools: Experimental Evidence from Liberia amidst COVID-19”

Status: Submitted

Works in progress

“School inspectors and school quality: Experimental evidence from Tanzania”. With James Habyarimana.

Abstract We report on a randomized evaluation of a school management reform program in Tanzania, rolled out to all schools in the country over a period of two years. Government officers (previously known as school inspectors) visit schools and produce a set of diagnostics and recommendations to improve school quality that are shared with all stakeholders. We evaluate the program in a nationally representative sample of 397 schools, with 199 schools assigned to the control. In a subset of treated schools we encourage additional monitoring by the local government front-line education officers by short-circuiting the information flow between the two separate ministries. We document three main findings from the midline survey. First, head teachers exposed to the additional monitoring revised downwards their beliefs about the quality of school leadership at the start of 2019 (i.e. prior to when most schools received the visit). There were no commensurate changes in beliefs about the quality of teaching or extent of community engagement. Second, teacher presence increased by 7.9 percentage points and teaching practice improved. We find no evidence of improvements in school management, community involvement, nor the overall quality of the school environment. Third, there was a modest improvement in student learning of 0.05SD in Kiswahili, but no improvements in mathematics.

Status: Pre-analysis plan registered at AEA RCT Registry; midline report completed; endline data collection ongoing.

The Proliferation of Administrative Units and Education Performance: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Tanzania” with James Habyarimana

Abstract Over the past decade there has been a proliferation of sub-national administrative units in developing countries, which coincided with a deepening of decentralized public service delivery. Very little is known about the impact of this process on the quality of public services. We test for this in the context of education in Tanzania, using a difference-in-difference methodology that compares changes in exam performance for schools located in Local Government Areas (LGAs) that sub-divided into smaller units, with schools residing in LGAs that did not. We find that this process improved school exam performance, but also reduced number of exam-sitters. There is no evidence of changes in per-school expenditure or teacher allocation.

Clientelism and political party strength: evidence from a list experiment in Tanzania”

“Demand for and impacts of mobile phone-based index insurance in agriculture: Experimental evidence from Kenya.” With Andrew Zeitlin and Billy Jack. Pre-analysis plan registered at AEA RCT Registry.

New projects

Experimental comparison of different modalities of providing online teacher training in Indonesia. With Deon Filmer and Noah Yarrow

Policy papers

Cilliers, J. and Oza, S. 2020. “The Motivations, Constraints, and Behaviour of Tanzania’s Frontline Education Providers”. RISE Insight Series. 2020/023. Available here

Cilliers, J. 2020. “How to Support Students When Schools Reopen?” RISE Insight Series. 2020/018. Available here

Monitoring the Big Results Now in Education Program” 2017 Available here