School cost functions: A meta-regression analysis
The education cost literature includes econometric studies attempting to determine economies of scale, or estimate an optimal school or district size. Not only do their results differ, but the studies use dissimilar data, techniques, and models. To derive value from these studies requires that the estimates be made comparable. One method to do this is meta-regression analysis (MRA) which was pioneered by Stanley and Jarrell [(1998). Gender wage discrimination bias? An MRA. Journal of Human Resources, 33, 947-973] as a result of similar frustrations with 'omnipresent biases' (p. 717). In this paper, the basic technique of MRA is described and then applied to 22 estimates of school costs, where an optimal school size (OSS) has or can be calculated. Results suggest an OSS of around 1543 students at the US secondary school level. Difficulties in interpreting the estimates are highlighted. The paper concludes with cautions in the use of MRA and opportunities for further research in this area.
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- Deller, Steven C & Rudnicki, Edward, 1992. "Managerial Efficiency in Local Government: Implications on Jurisdictional Consolidation," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 74(2), pages 221-231, September.
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- Jimenez, Emmanuel, 1986. "The structure of educational costs: Multiproduct cost functions for primary and secondary schools in latin America," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 25-39, February.
- Duncombe, William & Miner, Jerry & Ruggiero, John, 1995. "Potential cost savings from school district consolidation: A case study of New York," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 265-284, September.
- Ian W. Hind, 1977. "Estimates Of Cost Functions For Primary Schools In Rural Areas," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 21(1), pages 13-25, 04.
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- Donald A. Dawson, 1972. "Economics of Scale in the Ontario Public Secondary Schools," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 5(2), pages 306-309, May.
- Smet, Mike, 2001. "Determining the optimal size of study fields in Flemish secondary education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 443-457, October.
- T.D. Stanley & Stephen B. Jarrell, 1998. "Gender Wage Discrimination Bias? A Meta-Regression Analysis," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(4), pages 947-973.
- Gershberg, Alec Ian & Schuermann, Til, 2001. "The efficiency-equity trade-off of schooling outcomes: public education expenditures and welfare in Mexico," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 27-40, February.
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