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Estimating Class-size Effects using Within-school Variation in Subject-specific Classes


  • Eskil Heinesen


Selection response of parents to low school quality, for instance large class sizes, is a major problem when estimating causal class-size effects, also in experimental and quasi-experimental studies. To address this problem a new identification strategy using within-school variation over time in the size of subject-specific classes is proposed. It provides random class-size variation and enables tests for possible selection using test scores in other subjects. Applying this approach to Danish administrative data, highly significant and substantial positive effects of reducing class size are found on examination marks in French. Effects are larger for academically weak students and for boys. Copyright © The Author(s). Journal compilation © Royal Economic Society 2009.

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  • Eskil Heinesen, 2010. "Estimating Class-size Effects using Within-school Variation in Subject-specific Classes," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(545), pages 737-760, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:120:y:2010:i:545:p:737-760

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    3. Peter Fredriksson & Björn Öckert & Hessel Oosterbeek, 2016. "Parental Responses to Public Investments in Children: Evidence from a Maximum Class Size Rule," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 51(4), pages 832-868.
    4. Fredriksson, Peter & Öckert, Björn & Oosterbeek, Hessel, 2014. "Inside the Black Box of Class Size: Mechanisms, Behavioral Responses, and Social Background," IZA Discussion Papers 8019, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Madsen, Erik Strøjer, 2011. "Class size, type of exam and student achievement," Working Papers 11-5, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
    6. Martin Browning & Eskil Heinesen, 2014. "Study versus television," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 3(1), pages 1-16, December.
    7. Koch, Alexander & Nafziger, Julia & Nielsen, Helena Skyt, 2015. "Behavioral economics of education," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 3-17.
    8. Masakazu Hojo, 2011. "Education Production Function and Class-Size Effects in Japanese Public Schools," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd11-194, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    9. Eriksen, Tine Louise Mundbjerg & Nielsen, Helena Skyt & Simonsen, Marianne, 2012. "The Effects of Bullying in Elementary School," IZA Discussion Papers 6718, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Stephen Gibbons & Sandra McNally, 2013. "The Effects of Resources Across School Phases: A Summary of Recent Evidence," CEP Discussion Papers dp1226, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.

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