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Class Size and the Regression Discontinuity Design: The Case of Public Schools

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  • Cohen-Zada, Danny

    ()
    (Ben Gurion University)

  • Gradstein, Mark

    ()
    (Ben Gurion University)

  • Reuven, Ehud

    (Ben Gurion University)

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    Abstract

    Using a rich individual-level dataset on secondary public schools in Israel, we find strong evidence for discontinuities in the relationship between enrollment and household characteristics at cutoff points induced by a maximum class size rule. Our findings extend existing work that documents such discontinuities only among private schools (Urquiola and Verhoogen, 2009). These discontinuities violate the assumptions underlying the regression discontinuity design, which are crucial for identification. Consequently, IV estimates of class size effects are likely to be seriously biased. Potential manipulation of the treatment assignment rule by public schools warrants caution in applying a regression discontinuity design to estimate class size effects and indicates that institutional context is crucial for its scope of applicability.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4679.

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    Length: 39 pages
    Date of creation: Dec 2009
    Date of revision:
    Publication status: published as 'Allocation of students in public schools: Theory and new evidence' in: Economics of Education Review, 2013, 34, 96-106
    Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4679

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    Related research

    Keywords: regression discontinuity design; class size;

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    References

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    1. Alan B. Krueger, 2000. "Economic Considerations and class size," Working Papers 975, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
    2. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2002. "An Evaluation of Instrumental Variable Strategies for Estimating the Effects of Catholic Schools," NBER Working Papers 9358, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1999. "Using Maimonides' Rule To Estimate The Effect Of Class Size On Scholastic Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 533-575, May.
    4. McCrary, Justin, 2008. "Manipulation of the running variable in the regression discontinuity design: A density test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 698-714, February.
    5. Hanushek, Eric A, 1986. "The Economics of Schooling: Production and Efficiency in Public Schools," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 1141-77, September.
    6. Martin R. West & Ludger Woessmann, 2003. "Which School Systems Sort Weaker Students into Smaller Classes? International Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 1054, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2009. "Regression Discontinuity Designs In Economics," Working Papers 1118, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    8. Miguel Urquiola & Eric A. Verhoogen, 2007. "Class size and sorting in market equilibrium: Theory and evidence," Discussion Papers 0607-14, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
    9. Ludger Wösmann, 2005. "Educational production in Europe," Economic Policy, CEPR & CES & MSH, vol. 20(43), pages 445-504, 07.
    10. Edward P. Lazear, 1999. "Educational Production," NBER Working Papers 7349, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. James H. Stock & Motohiro Yogo, 2002. "Testing for Weak Instruments in Linear IV Regression," NBER Technical Working Papers 0284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2000. "The Effects Of Class Size On Student Achievement: New Evidence From Population Variation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1239-1285, November.
    13. Alan Krueger, 1997. "Experimental Estimates of Education Production Functions," Working Papers 758, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    14. Urquiola, Miguel, 2001. "Identifying class size effects in developing countries : evidence from rural schools in Bolivia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2711, The World Bank.
    15. Sander, William, 1993. "Expenditures and student achievement in Illinois : New evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 403-416, October.
    16. Wößmann, Ludger & West, Martin R., 2006. "Class-size effects in school systems around the world: Evidence from between-grade variation in TIMSS," Munich Reprints in Economics 19673, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    17. Hahn, Jinyong & Todd, Petra & Van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2001. "Identification and Estimation of Treatment Effects with a Regression-Discontinuity Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 201-09, January.
    18. David S. Lee & David Card, 2006. "Regression Discontinuity Inference with Specification Error," NBER Technical Working Papers 0322, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Lee, David S., 2008. "Randomized experiments from non-random selection in U.S. House elections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 675-697, February.
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