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The French zones d'éducation prioritaire: Much ado about nothing?

  • Bénabou, Roland
  • Kramarz, Francis
  • Prost, Corinne

We provide an assessment of the French ZEP (Zones d'Education Prioritaire), a program started in 1982 that channels additional resources to schools in disadvantaged areas and encourages the development of new teaching projects. Focusing on middle-schools, we first evaluate the impact of the ZEP status on resources, their utilization (teacher bonuses versus teaching hours) and key establishments characteristics such as class sizes, school enrolments, teachers' qualifications and experience, and student composition and mobility. We then estimate the impact of the ZEP program on four measures of individual student achievement: obtaining at least one diploma by the end of schooling, reaching 8th grade, reaching 10th grade and success at the Baccalauréat (the national examination at the end of high school). We take into account the endogeneity of the ZEP status by using both difference in differences and instrumental variables based on political variables. The results are the same in all cases: there is no impact on student success of the ZEP program.

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

Volume (Year): 28 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 345-356

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:28:y:2009:i:3:p:345-356
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  1. Marianne Bertrand & Francis Kramarz, 2001. "Does Entry Regulation Hinder Job Creation? Evidence from the French Retail Industry," NBER Working Papers 8211, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2008. "Breaking the link between poverty and low student achievement: An evaluation of Title I," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 731-756, February.
  3. James Heckman, 2011. "Policies to foster human capital," Educational Studies, Higher School of Economics, issue 3, pages 73-137.
  4. Benabou, Roland, 1996. "Equity and Efficiency in Human Capital Investment: The Local Connection," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(2), pages 237-64, April.
  5. Gary-Bobo, Robert J. & Picard, Natalie & Prieto, Ana, 2006. "Birth Order and Sibship Sex Composition as Instruments in the Study of Education and Earnings," CEPR Discussion Papers 5514, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. 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.
  7. Stephen Machin & Sandra McNally & Costas Meghir, 2004. "Improving Pupil Performance in English Secondary Schools: Excellence in Cities," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(2-3), pages 396-405, 04/05.
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