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Urban density and pupil attainment

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  • Gibbons, Stephen
  • Silva, Olmo

Abstract

We explore the association between urban density and pupil attainment using three cohorts of pupils in schooling in England. Although--as widely recognised--attainment in dense urban places is low on average, this is not because urban environments disadvantage pupils, but because the most disadvantaged pupils with low average attainments attend the most urbanised schools. To control for this, we exploit changes in urban density faced by pupils during compulsory transition from Primary to Secondary school, and measure educational progress at the end of the Secondary phase, relative to attainment at the end of Primary schooling. Our results suggest that there are small but significant benefits from education in schools in more densely urbanised settings. We detect this density advantage even amongst pupils moving relatively short distances between Primary and Secondary schools within urban areas, so we cannot attribute it to broad urbanisation effects experienced by pupils making rural-urban school moves. A more likely explanation lies in greater school choice and competition between closely co-located educational providers.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Urban Economics.

Volume (Year): 63 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 (March)
Pages: 631-650

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Handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:63:y:2008:i:2:p:631-650

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622905

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Keywords: Urban density and agglomeration School choice and competition Pupil achievement;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Stephen Gibbons & Olmo Silva & Felix Weinhardt, 2010. "Do Neighbours Affect Teenage Outcomes? Evidence from Neighbourhood Changes in England," CEE Discussion Papers 0122, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  2. Steve Gibbons & Shqiponja Telhaj, 2006. "Are Schools Drifting Apart? Intake Stratification in English Secondary Schools," CEE Discussion Papers 0064, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  3. Rose, Heather & Sonstelie, Jon, 2010. "School board politics, school district size, and the bargaining power of teachers' unions," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 438-450, May.
  4. Rebecca Allen, 2010. "Does school autonomy improve educational outcomes? Judging the performance of foundation secondary schools in England," DoQSS Working Papers 10-02, Department of Quantitative Social Science - Institute of Education, University of London.
  5. Buddin, Richard & Zamarro, Gema, 2009. "Teacher qualifications and student achievement in urban elementary schools," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 103-115, September.
  6. Rebecca Allen & Anna Vignoles, 2009. "Can school competition improve standards? The case of faith schools in England," DoQSS Working Papers 09-04, Department of Quantitative Social Science - Institute of Education, University of London.

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