IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/eecrev/v133y2021ics0014292121000179.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Does class size matter? How, and at what cost?

Author

Listed:
  • Kedagni, Desire
  • Krishna, Kala
  • Megalokonomou, Rigissa
  • Zhao, Yingyan

Abstract

Using Greek high quality administrative data we show that class size has a hump shaped effect on achievement whereas most of the literature assumes linearity. We then embed our estimates for this relationship in a dynamic structural model with costs of hiring and firing. We find that class sizes around 19 maximize the attainment, and the existing costs result in an average class size of 22–23 being chosen. Firing costs are about the same size as hiring costs consistent with the presence of unions. Reducing firing costs to zero raises class size by 4–6 students and reduces achievement by 0.8 to 1.2 GPA points. Reducing hiring costs to zero reduces class size by 3–5 students and increases GPA by 0.3 GPA points. Raising wages by 50%, class size increases by 2 students and GPA falls by 0.3 GPA points suggesting that unions (which raise salaries and firing costs) do raise class size, but have a small effect on achievement. We show that class size caps are costly, and more so for small schools, even when they are set at levels well above the average class size.

Suggested Citation

  • Kedagni, Desire & Krishna, Kala & Megalokonomou, Rigissa & Zhao, Yingyan, 2021. "Does class size matter? How, and at what cost?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 133(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:133:y:2021:i:c:s0014292121000179
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2021.103664
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014292121000179
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1016/j.euroecorev.2021.103664?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Steven G. Rivkin & Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain, 2005. "Teachers, Schools, and Academic Achievement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(2), pages 417-458, March.
    2. Alan B. Krueger, 1999. "Experimental Estimates of Education Production Functions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 497-532.
    3. Maximilian Bach & Stephan Sievert, 2019. "Birth Cohort Size Variation and the Estimation of Class Size Effects," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1817, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    4. Paul Bingley & Vibeke Myrup Jensen & Ian Walker, 2007. "The Effect of School Class Size on Post-Compulsory Education: Some Cost Benefit Analysis," Working Papers 200717, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
    5. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2000. "The Effects of Class Size on Student Achievement: New Evidence from Population Variation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1239-1285.
    6. repec:adr:anecst:y:2013:i:111-112 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Robert J. Gary-Bobo & Mohamed-Badrane Mahjoub, 2013. "Estimation of Class-Size Effects, Using "Maimonides' Rule" and Other Instruments: the Case of French Junior High Schools," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 111-112, pages 193-225.
    8. Edwin Leuven & Hessel Oosterbeek & Marte Rønning, 2008. "Quasi‐experimental Estimates of the Effect of Class Size on Achievement in Norway," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 110(4), pages 663-693, December.
    9. Michael Dinerstein & Rigissa Megalokonomou & Constantine Yannelis, 2020. "Human Capital Depreciation," NBER Working Papers 27925, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. repec:hrv:faseco:30749073 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Miguel Urquiola, 2006. "Identifying Class Size Effects in Developing Countries: Evidence from Rural Bolivia," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(1), pages 171-177, February.
    12. Kokkelenberg, Edward C. & Dillon, Michael & Christy, Sean M., 2008. "The effects of class size on student grades at a public university," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 221-233, April.
    13. Jesse Levin, 2001. "For whom the reductions count: A quantile regression analysis of class size and peer effects on scholastic achievement," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 221-246.
    14. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Jonah E. Rockoff, 2014. "Measuring the Impacts of Teachers I: Evaluating Bias in Teacher Value-Added Estimates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(9), pages 2593-2632, September.
    15. repec:adr:anecst:y:2013:i:111-112:p:8 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Christopher Jepsen & Steven Rivkin, 2009. "Class Size Reduction and Student Achievement: The Potential Tradeoff between Teacher Quality and Class Size," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(1).
    17. Oriana Bandiera & Valentino Larcinese & Imran Rasul, 2010. "Heterogeneous Class Size Effects: New Evidence from a Panel of University Students," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(549), pages 1365-1398, December.
    18. Krueger, Alan B & Whitmore, Diane M, 2001. "The Effect of Attending a Small Class in the Early Grades on College-Test Taking and Middle School Test Results: Evidence from Project STAR," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(468), pages 1-28, January.
    19. Melvin Borland & Roy Howsen & Michelle Trawick, 2005. "An investigation of the effect of class size on student academic achievement," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(1), pages 73-83.
    20. Hojo, Masakazu, 2013. "Class-size effects in Japanese schools: A spline regression approach," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 120(3), pages 583-587.
    21. Eric A. Hanushek, 2003. "The Failure of Input-Based Schooling Policies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(485), pages 64-98, February.
    22. Lee, Sokbae, 2007. "Endogeneity in quantile regression models: A control function approach," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 141(2), pages 1131-1158, December.
    23. Martin Browning & Eskil Heinesen, 2007. "Class Size, Teacher Hours and Educational Attainment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 109(2), pages 415-438, June.
    24. Victor Chernozhukov & Iván Fernández‐Val & Jinyong Hahn & Whitney Newey, 2013. "Average and Quantile Effects in Nonseparable Panel Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(2), pages 535-580, March.
    25. Simone Dobbelsteen & Jesse Levin & Hessel Oosterbeek, 2002. "The causal effect of class size on scholastic achievement: distinguishing the pure class size effect from the effect of changes in class composition," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 64(1), pages 17-38, February.
    26. Ghanem, Dalia, 2017. "Testing identifying assumptions in nonseparable panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 197(2), pages 202-217.
    27. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1999. "Using Maimonides' Rule to Estimate the Effect of Class Size on Scholastic Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 533-575.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Argaw, Bethlehem A. & Puhani, Patrick A., 2018. "Does class size matter for school tracking outcomes after elementary school? Quasi-experimental evidence using administrative panel data from Germany," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 48-57.
    2. Maximilian Bach & Stephan Sievert, 2019. "Birth Cohort Size Variation and the Estimation of Class Size Effects," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1817, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    3. Christopher Jepsen, 2015. "Class size: Does it matter for student achievement?," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 190-190, September.
    4. Graham McKee & Katharine Sims & Steven Rivkin, 2015. "Disruption, learning, and the heterogeneous benefits of smaller classes," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 48(3), pages 1267-1286, May.
    5. Maria De Paola & Vincenzo Scoppa, 2011. "The Effects Of Class Size On The Achievement Of College Students," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 79(6), pages 1061-1079, December.
    6. Alessio Gaggero & Getinet Haile, 2020. "Does class size matter in postgraduate education?," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 88(3), pages 489-505, June.
    7. Hægeland, Torbjørn & Raaum, Oddbjørn & Salvanes, Kjell G., 2012. "Pennies from heaven? Using exogenous tax variation to identify effects of school resources on pupil achievement," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 601-614.
    8. Masakazu Hojo, 2011. "Education Production Function and Class-Size Effects in Japanese Public Schools," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd11-194, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    9. Maria De Paola & Michela Ponzo & Vincenzo Scoppa, 2013. "Class size effects on student achievement: heterogeneity across abilities and fields," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(2), pages 135-153, March.
    10. Edwin Leuven & Hessel Oosterbeek & Marte Rønning, 2008. "Quasi‐experimental Estimates of the Effect of Class Size on Achievement in Norway," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 110(4), pages 663-693, December.
    11. Hideo Akabayashi & Ryosuke Nakamura, 2014. "Can Small Class Policy Close the Gap? An Empirical Analysis of Class Size Effects in Japan," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 65(3), pages 253-281, September.
    12. Han, Joseph & Ryu, Keunkwan, 2017. "Effects of class size reduction in upper grades: Evidence from Seoul, Korea," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 68-85.
    13. Matthew M. Chingos & Kenneth A. Couch, 2013. "Class Size and Student Outcomes: Research and Policy Implications," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 32(2), pages 411-438, March.
    14. Hideo Akabayashi & Ryosuke Nakamura, 2012. "Can Small Class Policy Close The Gap? An Empirical Analysis Of Class Size Effects In Japan," Working Papers e051, Tokyo Center for Economic Research.
    15. Peter Fredriksson & Björn Öckert & Hessel Oosterbeek, 2013. "Long-Term Effects of Class Size," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(1), pages 249-285.
    16. Cohen-Zada, Danny & Gradstein, Mark & Reuven, Ehud, 2013. "Allocation of students in public schools: Theory and new evidence," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 96-106.
    17. Adrien Bouguen & Julien Grenet & Marc Gurgand, 2017. "Does class size influence student achievement?," Post-Print halshs-02522747, HAL.
    18. Kara, Elif & Tonin, Mirco & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2021. "Class size effects in higher education: Differences across STEM and non-STEM fields," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 82(C).
    19. West, Martin R. & Woessmann, Ludger, 2006. "Which school systems sort weaker students into smaller classes? International evidence," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 944-968, December.
    20. Gary-Bobo, Robert J. & Mahjoub, Mohamed Badrane, 2006. "Estimation of Class-Size Effects, Using 'Maimonides' Rule': The Case of French Junior High Schools," CEPR Discussion Papers 5754, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Class size; Student performance; Adjustment costs; Dynamic model;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C6 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:133:y:2021:i:c:s0014292121000179. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eer .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eer .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.