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Educational Effects of Widening Access to the Academic Track: A Natural Experiment

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  • Eric Maurin
  • Sandra McNally

Abstract

It is difficult to know whether widening access to schools which provide a more academically oriented general education makes a difference to average educational achievement. We make use of reforms affecting admission to the 'high ability' track in Northern Ireland, but not England. The comparison of educational outcomes between Northern Ireland and England before and after the reform identifies the net effect of expanding the academic track to accommodate more students. This is composed of the direct effect of the more academic track on individual performance and the indirect effect arising on account of the change in peer group composition. Our paper is relevant to debate on the consequences of ability tracking and of expanding access to the academic track.

Suggested Citation

  • Eric Maurin & Sandra McNally, 2007. "Educational Effects of Widening Access to the Academic Track: A Natural Experiment," CEE Discussion Papers 0085, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:ceedps:0085
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Wössmann, 2006. "Does Educational Tracking Affect Performance and Inequality? Differences- in-Differences Evidence Across Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(510), pages 63-76, March.
    2. Philip Oreopoulos, 2006. "Estimating Average and Local Average Treatment Effects of Education when Compulsory Schooling Laws Really Matter," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 152-175, March.
    3. Pekkarinen, Tuomas, 2005. "Gender Differences in Educational Attainment: Evidence on the Role of the Tracking Age from a Finnish Quasi-Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 1897, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Adele Atkinson & Paul Gregg & Brendon McConnell, 2006. "The Result of 11 Plus Selection: An Investigation into Opportunities and Outcomes for Pupils in Selective LEAs," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 06/150, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    5. Harmon, Colm & Walker, Ian, 2000. "The Returns to the Quantity and Quality of Education: Evidence for Men in England and Wales," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 67(265), pages 19-35, February.
    6. Lorraine Dearden & Javier Ferri & Costas Meghir, 2002. "The Effect Of School Quality On Educational Attainment And Wages," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, pages 1-20.
    7. Costas Meghir & Mårten Palme, 2005. "Educational Reform, Ability, and Family Background," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 414-424.
    8. Galindo-Rueda, Fernando & Vignoles, Anna, 2004. "The Heterogeneous Effect of Selection in Secondary Schools: Understanding the Changing Role of Ability," IZA Discussion Papers 1245, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    Cited by:

    1. Andrea M. Mühlenweg & Patrick A. Puhani, 2010. "The Evolution of the School-Entry Age Effect in a School Tracking System," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(2).
    2. C. Kirabo Jackson, 2010. "Do Students Benefit from Attending Better Schools? Evidence from Rule-based Student Assignments in Trinidad and Tobago," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(549), pages 1399-1429, December.
    3. Böckerman, Petri & Hämäläinen, Ulla & Uusitalo, Roope, 2009. "Labour market effects of the polytechnic education reform: The Finnish experience," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 672-681, December.
    4. Christian Dustmann & Patrick A. Puhani & Uta Schönberg, 2012. "The Long-term Effects of School Quality on Labor Market Outcomes and Educational Attainment," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1208, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    5. Malamud, Ofer & Pop-Eleches, Cristian, 2011. "School tracking and access to higher education among disadvantaged groups," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(11), pages 1538-1549.
    6. Jürges, Hendrik & Reinhold, Steffen & Salm, Martin, 2011. "Does schooling affect health behavior? Evidence from the educational expansion in Western Germany," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 862-872, October.
    7. Patrick A. Puhani & Andrea M. Weber, 2007. "Persistence of the School Entry Age Effect in a System of Flexible Tracking," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2007 2007-30, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    education; tracking; selection;

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education

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