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The Effects of School District Consolidation on Educational Cost and Quality

Author

Listed:
  • Nora Gordon

    (University of California, San Diego, and National Bureau of Economic Research)

  • Brian Knight

    (Brown University and National Bureau of Economic Research)

Abstract

We examine the effects of both whole-grade sharing and administrative consolidations of local school districts in Iowa in the 1990s, the majority of which were induced by state fiscal incentives. We find no effects of either sharing or consolidation on the pupil-teacher ratio, enrollments, or dropout rates. In terms of revenues, we find evidence of temporary increases in state aid, as predicted by the state incentives. This increased state aid, however, is not offset by changes in local revenue and thus total revenue increases. We find a corresponding increase in local expenditures, although this increase was smaller than the increase in revenues, resulting in an increased surplus. Although we lack detailed quality data on student outcomes, these findings suggest an absence of efficiency gains from either whole-grade sharing or consolidation.

Suggested Citation

  • Nora Gordon & Brian Knight, 2008. "The Effects of School District Consolidation on Educational Cost and Quality," Public Finance Review, , vol. 36(4), pages 408-430, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:pubfin:v:36:y:2008:i:4:p:408-430
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:ces:ifodre:v:24:y:2016:i:04:p:45-49 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Blesse, Sebastian & Baskaran, Thushyanthan, 2016. "Do municipal mergers reduce costs? Evidence from a German federal state," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 54-74.
    3. Blesse Sebastian & Rösel Felix, 2017. "Was bringen kommunale Gebietsreformen?: Kausale Evidenz zu Hoffnungen, Risiken und alternativen Instrumenten," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, De Gruyter, vol. 18(4), pages 307-324, November.
    4. Gordon, Nora & Knight, Brian, 2009. "A spatial merger estimator with an application to school district consolidation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(5-6), pages 752-765, June.
    5. Billger, Sherrilyn M. & Beck, Frank D., 2009. "The Determinants of High School Closures: Lessons from Longitudinal Data throughout Illinois," IZA Discussion Papers 4641, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. repec:eee:poleco:v:50:y:2017:i:c:p:22-36 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Sebastian Blesse & Felix Rösel, 2017. "Gebietsreformen: Hoffnungen, Risiken und Alternativen," ifo Working Paper Series 234, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    8. Hazans, Mihails, 2010. "Teacher Pay, Class Size and Local Governments: Evidence from the Latvian Reform," IZA Discussion Papers 5291, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Roesel, Felix, 2017. "Do mergers of large local governments reduce expenditures? – Evidence from Germany using the synthetic control method," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 22-36.
    10. Reingewertz, Yaniv, 2012. "Do municipal amalgamations work? Evidence from municipalities in Israel," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 240-251.
    11. Leach, John & Payne, A. Abigail & Chan, Steve, 2010. "The effects of school board consolidation and financing on student performance," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 1034-1046, December.
    12. Felix Rösel, 2016. "Sparen Gebietsreformen Geld? - Ein Überblick über aktuelle Studien," ifo Dresden berichtet, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 23(04), pages 45-49, August.

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