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In a Small Moment: Class Size and Moral Hazard in the Italian Mezzogiorno

Author

Listed:
  • Angrist, Joshua
  • Battistin, Erich
  • Vuri, Daniela

Abstract

Instrumental variables (IV) estimates show strong class size effects in Southern Italy. But Italy's Mezzogiorno is distinguished by manipulation of standardized test scores as well as by economic disadvantage. IV estimates suggest small classes increase manipulation. We argue that score manipulation is a consequence of teacher shirking. IV estimates of a causal model for achievement as function of class size and score manipulation show that class size effects on measured achievement are driven entirely by the relationship between class size and manipulation. These results show how consequential score manipulation can arise even in assessment systems with few accountability concerns.

Suggested Citation

  • Angrist, Joshua & Battistin, Erich & Vuri, Daniela, 2016. "In a Small Moment: Class Size and Moral Hazard in the Italian Mezzogiorno," CEPR Discussion Papers 11666, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:11666
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Andrea Ichino & Giovanni Maggi, 2000. "Work Environment and Individual Background: Explaining Regional Shirking Differentials in a Large Italian Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 1057-1090.
    2. Abhijit Banerjee & Esther Duflo, 2006. "Addressing Absence," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 117-132, Winter.
    3. Rebecca Diamond & Petra Persson, 2016. "The Long-term Consequences of Teacher Discretion in Grading of High-stakes Tests," NBER Working Papers 22207, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Nathaniel Hilger & Emmanuel Saez & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach & Danny Yagan, 2011. "How Does Your Kindergarten Classroom Affect Your Earnings? Evidence from Project Star," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(4), pages 1593-1660.
    5. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2000. "The Effects of Class Size on Student Achievement: New Evidence from Population Variation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1239-1285.
    6. Battistin, Erich & De Nadai, Michele & Vuri, Daniela, 2017. "Counting rotten apples: Student achievement and score manipulation in Italian elementary Schools," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 200(2), pages 344-362.
    7. Edwin Leuven & Hessel Oosterbeek & Marte Rønning, 2008. "Quasi‐experimental Estimates of the Effect of Class Size on Achievement in Norway," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 110(4), pages 663-693, December.
    8. Simon Burgess & Ellen Greaves, 2013. "Test Scores, Subjective Assessment, and Stereotyping of Ethnic Minorities," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(3), pages 535-576.
    9. Rosario Maria Ballatore & Margherita Fort & Andrea Ichino, 2018. "Tower of Babel in the Classroom: Immigrants and Natives in Italian Schools," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(4), pages 885-921.
    10. Thomas S. Dee & Will Dobbie & Brian A. Jacob & Jonah Rockoff, 2019. "The Causes and Consequences of Test Score Manipulation: Evidence from the New York Regents Examinations," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 382-423, July.
    11. Bertoni, Marco & Brunello, Giorgio & Rocco, Lorenzo, 2013. "When the cat is near, the mice won't play: The effect of external examiners in Italian schools," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 65-77.
    12. Maria De Paola & Vincenzo Scoppa & Valeria Pupo, 2014. "Absenteeism in the Italian Public Sector: The Effects of Changes in Sick Leave Policy," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(2), pages 337-360.
    13. David Sims, 2008. "A strategic response to class size reduction: Combination classes and student achievement in California," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(3), pages 457-478.
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    Cited by:

    1. Checchi, Daniele & De Paola, Maria, 2018. "The effect of multigrade classes on cognitive and non- cognitive skills. Causal evidence exploiting minimum class size rules in Italy✰," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 235-253.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Education production; Regression Discontinuity; Test scores;

    JEL classification:

    • C26 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Instrumental Variables (IV) Estimation
    • C31 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models; Quantile Regressions; Social Interaction Models
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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