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Educational production in Europe


  • Ludger Wößmann


type="main" xml:lang="en"> Available data and recently developed estimation methods make it possible to assess school performance in terms of a production process, where ‘inputs’ of students, teachers, and resources are combined to create a very important ‘output’: the cognitive skills of students. This paper estimates the education production function using representative samples of middle-school students in 15 West European countries. The size of teaching classes is a particularly important feature of the educational production process because it can be relatively easily manipulated by policy makers. However, no statistically and economically significant class-size effect is detected by any of the evidence considered in this paper. The results suggest that, at least in the context of the resources and organizational structure of West European lower secondary education systems, expensive across-the-board reduction of class sizes is extremely unlikely to foster student learning. — Ludger Wößmann

Suggested Citation

  • Ludger Wößmann, 2005. "Educational production in Europe," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 20(43), pages 445-504, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecpoli:v:20:y:2005:i:43:p:445-504

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Richard Blundell & Alan Duncan & Costas Meghir, 1998. "Estimating Labor Supply Responses Using Tax Reforms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(4), pages 827-862, July.
    2. Edgar L. Feige & Ivica Urban, 2003. "Estimating the Size and Growth of Unrecorded Economic Activity in Transition Countries: A Re-evaluation of Electric Consumption Method Estimates and their Implications," Macroeconomics 0311010, EconWPA.
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    5. Roger H. Gordon & Joel Slemrod, 1998. "Are "Real" Responses to Taxes Simply Income Shifting Between Corporate and Personal Tax Bases?," NBER Working Papers 6576, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Friedman, Eric & Johnson, Simon & Kaufmann, Daniel & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 2000. "Dodging the grabbing hand: the determinants of unofficial activity in 69 countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 459-493, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Timo Boppart & Josef Falkinger & Volker Grossmann & Ulrich Woitek & Gabriela W�thrich, 2008. "Qualifying Religion: The Role of Plural Identities for Educational Production," IEW - Working Papers 360, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    2. repec:nos:voprob:2013:i:4:p:188-246 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Joshua D. Angrist & Erich Battistin & Daniela Vuri, 2014. "In a Small Moment: Class Size and Moral Hazard in the Mezzogiorno," FBK-IRVAPP Working Papers 2014-04, Research Institute for the Evaluation of Public Policies (IRVAPP), Bruno Kessler Foundation.
    4. Cohen-Zada, Danny & Gradstein, Mark & Reuven, Ehud, 2009. "Class Size and the Regression Discontinuity Design: The Case of Public Schools," IZA Discussion Papers 4679, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Ludger Woessmann, 2016. "The Importance of School Systems: Evidence from International Differences in Student Achievement," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 3-32, Summer.
    6. Martin Schlotter & Guido Schwerdt & Ludger Woessmann, 2011. "Econometric methods for causal evaluation of education policies and practices: a non-technical guide," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(2), pages 109-137.
    7. Cohen-Zada, Danny & Gradstein, Mark & Reuven, Ehud, 2013. "Allocation of students in public schools: Theory and new evidence," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 96-106.
    8. Ludger Wößmann, 2006. "Bildungspolitische Lehren aus den internationalen Schülertests: Wettbewerb, Autonomie und externe Leistungsüberprüfung," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 7(3), pages 417-444, August.
    9. Lounkaew, Kiatanantha, 2013. "Explaining urban–rural differences in educational achievement in Thailand: Evidence from PISA literacy data," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 213-225.
    10. repec:bla:obuest:v:79:y:2017:i:5:p:654-688 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Woessmann Ludger, 2010. "Institutional Determinants of School Efficiency and Equity: German States as a Microcosm for OECD Countries," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 230(2), pages 234-270, April.
    12. Ludger Wößmann, 2007. "Fundamental Determinants of School Efficiency and Equity: German States as a Microcosm for OECD Countries," CESifo Working Paper Series 1981, CESifo Group Munich.
    13. Ludger Wößmann, 2005. "Kleinere Klassen = bessere Leistungen?," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 58(17), pages 06-15, September.
    14. Woessmann, Ludger, 2011. "Cross-country evidence on teacher performance pay," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 404-418, June.
    15. Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2008. "The Role of Cognitive Skills in Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(3), pages 607-668, September.
    16. Graham McKee & Katharine Sims & Steven Rivkin, 2015. "Disruption, learning, and the heterogeneous benefits of smaller classes," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 48(3), pages 1267-1286, May.

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