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Socioeconomic status or noise? Tradeoffs in the generation of school quality information

  • Mizala, Alejandra
  • Romaguera, Pilar
  • Urquiola, Miguel

This paper calculates a time series of simple, standard measures of schools’ relative performance. These are drawn from a 1997-2004 panel of Chilean schools, using individual-level information on test scores and student characteristics for each year. The results suggest there is a stark tradeoff in the extent to which rankings generated using these measures: i) can be shown to be very similar to rankings based purely on students’ socioeconomic status, and ii) are very volatile from year to year. At least in Chile, therefore, producing a meaningful ranking of schools that may inform parents and policymakers may be harder than is commonly assumed.

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

Volume (Year): 84 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (September)
Pages: 61-75

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Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:84:y:2007:i:1:p:61-75
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  1. Paul Glewwe & Nauman Ilias & Michael Kremer, 2003. "Teacher Incentives," NBER Working Papers 9671, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Alejandra Mizala & Pilar Romaguera, 2002. "Evaluación del Desempeño e Incentivos en la Educación Chilena," Latin American Journal of Economics-formerly Cuadernos de Economía, Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile., vol. 39(118), pages 353-394.
  3. Hsieh, Chang-Tai & Urquiola, Miguel, 2006. "The effects of generalized school choice on achievement and stratification: Evidence from Chile's voucher program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(8-9), pages 1477-1503, September.
  4. Esther Duflo & Rema Hanna, 2005. "Monitoring Works: Getting Teachers to Come to School," NBER Working Papers 11880, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin, 2001. "Disruption versus Tiebout Improvement: The Costs and Benefits of Switching Schools," NBER Working Papers 8479, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Victor Lavy, 2002. "Evaluating the Effect of Teachers' Group Performance Incentives on Pupil Achievement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(6), pages 1286-1317, December.
  7. Eric Hanushek, 2004. "United States lessons about school accountability," CESifo DICE Report, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 2(4), pages 27-32, 01.
  8. Abhijit Banerjee & Angus Deaton & Esther Duflo, 2004. "Wealth, health, and health services in rural rajasthan," Framed Field Experiments 00121, The Field Experiments Website.
  9. Nazmul Chaudhury & Jeffrey Hammer & Michael Kremer & Karthik Muralidharan & F. Halsey Rogers, 2006. "Missing in Action: Teacher and Health Worker Absence in Developing Countries," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 91-116, Winter.
  10. Alejandra Mizala & Pilar Romaguera, 2000. "School Performance and Choice: The Chilean Experience," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(2), pages 392-417.
  11. Lant Pritchett, 2004. "Towards a New Consensus for Addressing the Global Challenge of the Lack of Education," Working Papers 43, Center for Global Development.
  12. Kenneth Y. Chay & Patrick J. McEwan & Miguel Urquiola, 2003. "The Central Role of Noise in Evaluating Interventions that Use Test Scores to Rank Schools," NBER Working Papers 10118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger, 2001. "Improving School Accountability Measures," NBER Working Papers 8156, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Ritva Reinikka & Jakob Svensson, 2004. "Local Capture: Evidence From a Central Government Transfer Program in Uganda," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(2), pages 678-704, May.
  15. Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger, 2002. "The Promise and Pitfalls of Using Imprecise School Accountability Measures," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 91-114, Fall.
  16. Abhijit Banerjee & Esther Duflo, 2006. "Addressing Absence," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 117-132, Winter.
  17. Reinikka, Ritva & Svensson, Jakob, 2004. "The power of information : evidence from a newspaper campaign to reduce capture," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3239, The World Bank.
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