Theses Master's

Leaking Education Quality: An Analysis of the Potential Effects of Corruption on Brazilian Public School Students

Saunders, Mi-Hwa

This thesis examines the intersection of corruption and education by analyzing the potential effects corruption has on the educational attainment of public primary and secondary school students in Brazil. I approach the discussion from a human rights perspective and outline the right to education as a duplicative right, or a right that once secured more easily facilitates access to securing other rights. I examine the potential effects of corruption by analyzing educational fund leakage scandals in four Brazilian states that vary in Human Development Index, racial marginalization, and wealth. By exploiting data from the Brazilian Ministry of Education in municipalities where rampant corruption occurred (or occurs), I find a strong negative association between leakages and decreased educational attainment. From this finding, I analyze the effects of decreased educational attainment for racially marginalized students and argue that corruption in public schools is likely to lead to increased racial inequality, decreased ability for public students to matriculate into university, and decreased employment opportunities. The negative effects motivate discussion for transparency and accountability policy recommendations to ensure educational rights.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Thesis Advisors
Lagunes, Paul Felipe
M.A., Columbia University
Published Here
December 13, 2016