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Is parental involvement lower at larger schools?

  • Walsh, Patrick

Parents who volunteer, or who lobby for improvements in school quality, are generally seen as providing a school-wide public good. If so, straightforward public-good theory predicts that free-riding will reduce average involvement at larger schools. This study uses longitudinal data to follow families over time, as their children move from middle schools to high schools, thus netting out unobservable differences among families. Increases in school size result in significant reductions in parental involvement, although the magnitude of the effect is small. If parents experience a doubling in school size, they are 2 percentage points less likely to increase their contacts with the school, and 5 percentage points less likely to increase their volunteering. A continuous-treatment propensity-score method tests whether the results are driven by selection into treatment. The parental contact results are robust to this test, while the volunteer results are not. Also, there is some evidence that parents see their involvement as a substitute, rather than a complement, for perceived school quality.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6VB9-4YV82RY-3/2/4acec23a8b4afbb096b0908bac7eb6cb
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics of Education Review.

Volume (Year): 29 (2010)
Issue (Month): 6 (December)
Pages: 959-970

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:29:y:2010:i:6:p:959-970
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/econedurev

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  1. Kuziemko, Ilyana, 2006. "Using shocks to school enrollment to estimate the effect of school size on student achievement," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 63-75, February.
  2. Brunner, Eric & Sonstelie, Jon, 2003. "School finance reform and voluntary fiscal federalism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(9-10), pages 2157-2185, September.
  3. Foreman-Peck, James & Foreman-Peck, Lorraine, 2006. "Should schools be smaller? The size-performance relationship for Welsh schools," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 157-171, April.
  4. Bergstrom, Theodore & Blume, Lawrence & Varian, Hal, 1986. "On the private provision of public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 25-49, February.
  5. Bonesronning, Hans, 2004. "The determinants of parental effort in education production: do parents respond to changes in class size?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 1-9, February.
  6. Michela Bia & Alessandra Mattei, 2008. "A Stata package for the estimation of the dose–response function through adjustment for the generalized propensity score," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 8(3), pages 354-373, September.
  7. Andrew J. Houtenville & Karen Smith Conway, 2008. "Parental Effort, School Resources, and Student Achievement," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(2), pages 437-453.
  8. Suet-ling Pong & Lingxin Hao & Erica Gardner, 2005. "The Roles of Parenting Styles and Social Capital in the School Performance of Immigrant Asian and Hispanic Adolescents," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 86(4), pages 928-950.
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