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Class-Size Caps, Sorting, and the Regression-Discontinuity Design

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  • Miguel Urquiola
  • Eric Verhoogen

Abstract

This paper examines how schools' choices of class size and households' choices of schools affect regression-discontinuity-based estimates of the effect of class size on student outcomes. We build a model in which schools are subject to a class-size cap and an integer constraint on the number of classrooms, and higher-income households sort into higher-quality schools. The key prediction, borne out in data from Chile's liberalized education market, is that schools at the class-size cap adjust prices (or enrollments) to avoid adding an additional classroom, which generates discontinuities in the relationship between enrollment and household characteristics, violating the assumptions underlying regression-discontinuity research designs. (JEL D12, I21, I28, O15)

Suggested Citation

  • Miguel Urquiola & Eric Verhoogen, 2009. "Class-Size Caps, Sorting, and the Regression-Discontinuity Design," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 179-215, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:99:y:2009:i:1:p:179-215
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.99.1.179
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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