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Non-instructional Spending Improves Non-cognitive Outcomes:Discontinuity Evidence from a Unique Elementary School Counselor Financing System

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  • Randall Reback

    () (Barnard College, Columbia University)

Abstract

Children’s non-cognitive skills, mental health, and behavior are important predictors of future earnings and educational attainment. Their behavior in the classroom also affects their peers’ behavior and achievement. There is limited prior evidence, however, concerning the impact of school resources on student behavior. Some elementary schools employ counselors whose primary purpose is to help improve students’ behavior, mental health, and non-cognitive skill acquisition. This paper estimates regression discontinuity models exploiting Alabama’s unique financing system for school counselors. Alabama fully subsidizes counselor appointments for all elementary schools, with the number of appointments based on schools’ prior year enrollments using discrete enrollment cutoffs. The results suggest that greater counselor subsidies reduce the frequency of disciplinary incidents but do not strongly influence mean student achievement test scores. Increases in counselors moderate relatively severe behavioral problems without necessarily improving systemic behavior affecting classroom learning.

Suggested Citation

  • Randall Reback, 2009. "Non-instructional Spending Improves Non-cognitive Outcomes:Discontinuity Evidence from a Unique Elementary School Counselor Financing System," Working Papers 0903, Barnard College, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:brn:wpaper:0903
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    File URL: http://www.econ.barnard.columbia.edu/working_papers/wp0903.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. C. Kirabo Jackson & Rucker C. Johnson & Claudia Persico, 2016. "The Effects of School Spending on Educational and Economic Outcomes: Evidence from School Finance Reforms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 131(1), pages 157-218.
    2. Benjamin Castleman & Joshua Goodman, 2018. "Intensive College Counseling and the Enrollment and Persistence of Low-Income Students," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 13(1), pages 19-41, Winter.
    3. Carrell, Scott E. & Hoekstra, Mark, 2014. "Are school counselors an effective education input?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 125(1), pages 66-69.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    education; counselors; mental health; discipline; regression discontinuity;

    JEL classification:

    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General

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