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Expanding School Resources and Increasing Time on Task: Effects of a Policy Experiment in Israel on Student Academic Achievement and Behaviour

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  • Lavy, Victor

    (University of Warwick)

Abstract

In this paper, I examine how student academic achievements and behavior were affected by a school finance policy experiment undertaken in elementary schools in Israel. Begun in 2004, the funding formula changed from a budget set per class to a budget set per student, with more weight given to students from lower socioeconomic and lower educational backgrounds. The experiment altered teaching budgets, the length of the school week, and the allocation of time devoted to core subjects. The results suggest that spending more money and spending more time at school and on key tasks all lead to increasing academic achievements with no behavioral costs. I find that the overall budget per class has positive and significant effects on students' average test scores and that this effect is symmetric and identical for schools that gained or lost resources due to the funding reform. Separate estimations of the effect of increasing the length of the school week and the subject-specific instructional time per week also show positive and significant effects on math, science, and English test scores. However, no cross effects of additional instructional time across subjects emerge, suggesting that the effect of overall weekly school instruction time on test scores reflects only the effect of additional instructional time in these particular subjects. As a robustness check of the validity of the identification strategy, I also use an alternative method that exploits variation in the instruction time of different subjects. Remarkably, this alternative identification strategy yields almost identical results to the results obtained based on the school funding reform. Additional results suggest that the effect on test scores is similar for boys and girls but it is much larger for pupils from low socioeconomic backgrounds and it is also more pronounced in schools populated with students from homogenous socioeconomic backgrounds. The evidence also shows that a longer school week increases the time that students spend on homework without reducing social and school satisfaction and without increasing school violence.

Suggested Citation

  • Lavy, Victor, 2012. "Expanding School Resources and Increasing Time on Task: Effects of a Policy Experiment in Israel on Student Academic Achievement and Behaviour," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 95, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  • Handle: RePEc:cge:wacage:95
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    File URL: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/centres/cage/manage/publications/95.2012_lavy.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Dave E. Marcotte & Steven W. Hemelt, 2008. "Unscheduled School Closings and Student Performance," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, pages 316-338.
    2. Bénabou, Roland & Kramarz, Francis & Prost, Corinne, 2009. "The French zones d'éducation prioritaire: Much ado about nothing?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 345-356, June.
    3. Esther Duflo, 2001. "Schooling and Labor Market Consequences of School Construction in Indonesia: Evidence from an Unusual Policy Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 795-813, September.
    4. repec:fth:prinin:366 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Dave E. Marcotte & Steven W. Hemelt, 2008. "Unscheduled School Closings and Student Performance," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, pages 316-338.
    6. Edward P. Lazear, 2001. "Educational Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(3), pages 777-803.
    7. David Card & Alan B. Krueger, 1996. "School Resources and Student Outcomes: An Overview of the Literature and New Evidence from North and South Carolina," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 31-50, Fall.
    8. Grogger, Jeff, 1996. "Does School Quality Explain the Recent Black/White Wage Trend?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(2), pages 231-253, April.
    9. Hakkinen, Iida & Kirjavainen, Tanja & Uusitalo, Roope, 2003. "School resources and student achievement revisited: new evidence from panel data," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 329-335, June.
    10. Victor Lavy, 2002. "Evaluating the Effect of Teachers' Group Performance Incentives on Pupil Achievement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(6), pages 1286-1317, December.
    11. Betts, Julian R, 2001. "The Impact of School Resources on Women's Earnings and Educational Attainment: Findings from the National Longitudinal Survey of Young Women," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(3), pages 635-657, July.
    12. Will Dobbie & Roland G. Fryer, Jr, 2011. "Getting Beneath the Veil of Effective Schools: Evidence from New York City," NBER Working Papers 17632, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. David Card & Alan Krueger, 1996. "School Resources and Student Outcomes: An Overview of the Literature and New Evidence from North and South Carolina," Working Papers 745, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    14. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:labeco:v:47:y:2017:i:c:p:15-34 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Andrés Barrios F. & Giulia Bovini, 2017. "It's Time to Learn: Understanding the Differences in Returns to Instruction Time," CEP Discussion Papers dp1521, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    3. Elena Claudia Meroni & Giovanni Abbiati, 2014. "Gender differences in exposure to more instruction time. Evidence from Italy," Working Papers 064, "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi.
    4. Stephen Gibbons & Sandra McNally, 2013. "The Effects of Resources Across School Phases: A Summary of Recent Evidence," CEP Discussion Papers dp1226, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    5. Huebener, Mathias & Kuger, Susanne & Marcus, Jan, 2017. "Increased instruction hours and the widening gap in student performance," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 15-34.
    6. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy & Jetson Leder-Luis & Adi Shany, 2017. "Maimonides Rule Redux," NBER Working Papers 23486, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Dörsam, Michael & Lauber, Verena, 2015. "The Effect of a Compressed High School Curriculum on University Grades: DiD-Evidence From a German Policy Shift," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 112876, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    8. Battistin, Erich & Meroni, Elena Claudia, 2016. "Should we increase instruction time in low achieving schools? Evidence from Southern Italy," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 39-56.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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