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The Effects Of School Competition On The Achievement Of Italian Students


  • Michela Ponzo

    () (Dipartimento di Economia e Statistica, Università della Calabria)


In this paper we study the impact of the degree of school competition on achievement of Italian students. Specifically, competition is measured as the number of schools available to students in a given area. The aim is to evaluate whether an increase in school choice improves the quality of education. Using the third cycle of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA 2006) we investigate with simple Least Squares regression models, controlling for a range of individual and schools characteristics, if secondary school students with a wider range of schools choices perform better than those students whose choice is more limited. We find a significant positive correlation between students’ academic performance and the degree of local schools competition. Moreover, we show that students achieve much better outcomes if schools operating in more competitive environments also experience a higher pressure on academic standards coming from parents.

Suggested Citation

  • Michela Ponzo, 2009. "The Effects Of School Competition On The Achievement Of Italian Students," Working Papers 200920, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza "Giovanni Anania" - DESF.
  • Handle: RePEc:clb:wpaper:200920

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2000. "Does Competition among Public Schools Benefit Students and Taxpayers?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1209-1238, December.
    2. Julie Berry Cullen & Brian A. Jacob & Steven Levitt, 2003. "The Effect of School Choice on Student Outcomes: Evidence from Randomized Lotteries," NBER Working Papers 10113, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Joshua Angrist & Eric Bettinger & Erik Bloom & Elizabeth King & Michael Kremer, 2002. "Vouchers for Private Schooling in Colombia: Evidence from a Randomized Natural Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1535-1558, December.
    4. Cecilia Elena Rouse, 1998. "Private School Vouchers and Student Achievement: An Evaluation of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(2), pages 553-602.
    5. Goldhaber, Dan D. & Brewer, Dominic J. & Eide, Eric R. & Rees, Daniel I., 1999. "Testing for sample selection in the Milwaukee school choice experiment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 259-267, April.
    6. Giorgio Brunello & Lorenzo Rocco, 2008. "Educational Standards in Private and Public Schools," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(533), pages 1866-1887, November.
    7. Cullen, Julie Berry & Jacob, Brian A. & Levitt, Steven D., 2005. "The impact of school choice on student outcomes: an analysis of the Chicago Public Schools," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 729-760, June.
    8. Bratti, Massimiliano & Checchi, Daniele & Filippin, Antonio, 2007. "Territorial Differences in Italian Students’ Mathematical Competencies: Evidence from PISA 2003," IZA Discussion Papers 2603, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Stephen Gibbons & Stephen Machin & Olmo Silva, 2008. "Choice, Competition, and Pupil Achievement," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(4), pages 912-947, June.
    10. Caroline Minter Hoxby, 2003. "School Choice and School Productivity. Could School Choice Be a Tide that Lifts All Boats?," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of School Choice, pages 287-342 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Buddin, Richard J. & Cordes, Joseph J. & Kirby, Sheila Nataraj, 1998. "School Choice in California: Who Chooses Private Schools?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 110-134, July.
    12. Caroline Minter Hoxby, 1994. "Do Private Schools Provide Competition for Public Schools?," NBER Working Papers 4978, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard E, 1998. "Competition between Private and Public Schools, Vouchers, and Peer-Group Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 33-62, March.
    14. Lankford R. H. & Lee E. S. & Wyckoff J. H., 1995. "An Analysis of Elementary and Secondary School Choice," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 236-251, September.
    15. M. De Paola & V. Scoppa, 2007. "Returns to skills, incentives to study and optimal educational standards," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 92(3), pages 229-262, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Masci, Chiara & Ieva, Francesca & Agasisti, Tommaso & Paganoni, Anna Maria, 2016. "Does class matter more than school? Evidence from a multilevel statistical analysis on Italian junior secondary school students," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 47-57.
    2. Eiji Yamamura, 2015. "Is university sports an advertisement in the higher education market? An analysis of the Hakone long-distance relay road race in Japan," ISER Discussion Paper 0922, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    3. Baranov, Igor N., 2012. "Quality of Secondary Education in Russia: Between Soviet Legacy and Challenges of Global Competitiveness," Working Papers 797, Graduate School of Management, St. Petersburg State University.
    4. Baranov, Igor N., 2012. "Quality of Secondary Education in Russia: Between Soviet Legacy and Challenges of Global Competitiveness," Working Papers 538, Graduate School of Management, St. Petersburg State University.
    5. Richard J. Cebula & Joshua C. Hall & Maria Y. Tackett, 2017. "Non-public competition and public school performance: evidence from West Virginia," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(12), pages 1185-1193, March.
    6. Tommaso Agasisti, 2013. "Competition Among Italian Junior-Secondary Schools: A Variance-Decomposition Empirical Analysis," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 84(1), pages 17-42, March.

    More about this item


    Educational Production Function; School Competition; Students Achievement; PISA;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • H72 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Budget and Expenditures

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