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School cost functions: A meta-regression analysis

  • Colegrave, Andrew D.
  • Giles, Margaret J.

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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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics of Education Review.

Volume (Year): 27 (2008)
Issue (Month): 6 (December)
Pages: 688-696

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:27:y:2008:i:6:p:688-696
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/econedurev

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  1. K. Chakraborty & B. Biswas & WC. Lewis, 2000. "Economies of scale in public education: an econometric analysis," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 18(2), pages 238-247, 04.
  2. Hind, Ian W., 1977. "Estimates Of Cost Functions For Primary Schools In Rural Areas," Australian Journal of Agricultural Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 21(01), April.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. T. D. Stanley, 2001. "Wheat from Chaff: Meta-analysis as Quantitative Literature Review," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 131-150, Summer.
  6. Wales, Terence J, 1973. "The Effect of School and District Size on Education Costs in British Columbia," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 710-20, October.
  7. Daneshvary, Nasser & Clauretie, Terrence M., 2001. "Efficiency and costs in education: year-round versus traditional schedules," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 279-287, June.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Osburn, Donald D, 1970. "Economies of Size Associated with Public High Schools," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 52(1), pages 113-15, February.
  12. Espey, Molly & Thilmany, Dawn D., 2000. "Farm Labor Demand: A Meta-Regression Analysis Of Wage Elasticities," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 25(01), July.
  13. 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.
  14. Deller, Steven C & Rudnicki, Edward, 1992. " Managerial Efficiency in Local Government: Implications on Jurisdictional Consolidation," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 74(2), pages 221-31, September.
  15. Donald A. Dawson, 1972. "Economics of Scale in the Ontario Public Secondary Schools," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 5(2), pages 306-09, May.
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