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Smart but unhappy: Independent-school competition and the wellbeing-efficiency trade-off in education

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  • Heller-Sahlgren, Gabriel

Abstract

We study whether independent-school competition involves a trade-off between pupil wellbeing and academic performance. To test this hypothesis, we analyse data covering pupils across the OECD, exploiting historical Catholic opposition to state schooling for exogenous variation in independent-school enrolment shares. We find that independent-school competition decreases pupil wellbeing but raises achievement and lowers educational costs. Our analysis and balancing tests indicate these findings are causal. In addition, we find several mechanisms behind the trade-off, including more traditional teaching and stronger parental achievement pressure.

Suggested Citation

  • Heller-Sahlgren, Gabriel, 2018. "Smart but unhappy: Independent-school competition and the wellbeing-efficiency trade-off in education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 66-81.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:62:y:2018:i:c:p:66-81
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2017.10.005
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    Keywords

    Independent-school competition; Human capital; Wellbeing-efficiency trade-off;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • L33 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Comparison of Public and Private Enterprise and Nonprofit Institutions; Privatization; Contracting Out
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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