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Does additional spending help urban schools? An evaluation using boundary discontinuities

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  • Gibbons, Stephen
  • McNally, Sandra
  • Viarengo, Martina

Abstract

This study exploits spatial anomalies in school funding policy in England to provide new evidence on the impact of resources on student achievement in urban areas. Anomalies arise because the funding allocated to Local Education Authorities (LEA) depends, through a funding formula, on the ‘additional educational needs’ of its population and prices in the district. However, the money each school receives from its LEA is not necessarily related to the school’s own specific local conditions and constraints. This implies that neighbouring schools with similar intakes, operating in the same labour market, facing similar prices, but in different LEAs, can receive very different incomes. We find that these funding disparities give rise to sizeable differences in pupil attainment in national tests at the end of primary school, showing that school resources have an important role to play in improving educational attainment, especially for lower socio-economic groups. The design is geographical boundary discontinuity design which compares neighbouring schools, matched on a proxy for additional educational needs of its students (free school meal entitlement – FSM), in adjacent districts. The key identification requirement is one of conditional ignorability of the level of LEA grant, where conditioning is on geographical location of schools and their proportion of FSM children.

Suggested Citation

  • Gibbons, Stephen & McNally, Sandra & Viarengo, Martina, 2018. "Does additional spending help urban schools? An evaluation using boundary discontinuities," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 84213, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:84213
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Four concerns about schools at the top of the election agenda
      by Sandra McNally, Professor in the School of Economics at University of Surrey in The Conversation on 2015-03-24 11:23:12

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    Cited by:

    1. Greaves, Ellen & Sibieta, Luke, 2019. "Constrained optimisation? Teacher salaries, school resources and student achievement," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 73(C).
    2. Stephen Machin & Sandra McNally, 2012. "The Evaluation of English Education Policies," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 219(1), pages 15-25, January.
    3. Gibbons, Stephen & Silva, Olmo & Weinhardt, Felix, 2017. "Neighbourhood Turnover and Teenage Attainment," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 746-783.
    4. Stephen Gibbons & Henry G. Overman, 2012. "Mostly Pointless Spatial Econometrics?," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(2), pages 172-191, May.
    5. Jules Gazeaud & Claire Ricard, 2021. "Conditional cash transfers and the learning crisis: evidence from Tayssir scale-up in Morocco," NOVAFRICA Working Paper Series wp2102, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Nova School of Business and Economics, NOVAFRICA.
    6. Machin, Stephen & Wyness, Gill & McNally, Sandra, 2013. "Education in a devolved Scotland: a quantitative analysis," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 57971, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    7. Cheti Nicoletti & Birgitta Rabe, 2012. "The effect of school resources on test scores in England," Discussion Papers 12/19, Department of Economics, University of York.
    8. Ruth Lupton & Polina Obolenskaya, 2013. "Labour's Record on Education: Policy, Spending and Outcomes 1997-2010," CASE - Social Policy in a Cold Climate Working Paper 03, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
    9. Gordon L. Clark, 2014. "Roepke Lecture in Economic Geography—Financial Literacy in Context," Economic Geography, Clark University, vol. 90(1), pages 1-23, January.
    10. Gibbons, Steve & Overman, Henry G. & Patacchini, Eleonora, 2015. "Spatial Methods," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: Gilles Duranton & J. V. Henderson & William C. Strange (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 0, pages 115-168, Elsevier.
    11. Steve Gibbons & Max Nathan & Henry G. Overman, 2014. "Evaluating Spatial Policies," SERC Policy Papers 012, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
    12. Eyles, Andrew & Machin, Stephen & McNally, Sandra, 2017. "Unexpected school reform: Academisation of primary schools in England," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 155(C), pages 108-121.
    13. 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.
    14. Monique De Haan, 2017. "The Effect of Additional Funds for Low‐ability Pupils: A Non‐parametric Bounds Analysis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 127(599), pages 177-198, February.
    15. D’Inverno, Giovanna & Smet, Mike & De Witte, Kristof, 2021. "Impact evaluation in a multi-input multi-output setting: Evidence on the effect of additional resources for schools," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 290(3), pages 1111-1124.
    16. repec:cep:spccrr:01 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Lupton, Ruth & Hills, John & Stewart, Kitty & Vizard, Polly, 2013. "Labour’s social policy record: policy, spending and outcomes 1997-2010," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 51070, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    18. Andrew Eyles & Steve Gibbons & Piero Montebruno, 2020. "Covid-19 school shutdowns: What will they do to our children's education?," CEP Covid-19 Briefings cepcovid-19-001, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    19. Bassey Okon Ebi & Peter Samuel Ubi, 2017. "Education Expenditure and Access to Education: Case Study of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Declaration in Nigeria," International Journal of Economics and Financial Issues, Econjournals, vol. 7(5), pages 290-298.
    20. Deborah A. Cobb-Clark & Nikhil Jha, 2016. "Educational Achievement and the Allocation of School Resources," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 49(3), pages 251-271, September.

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    Keywords

    urban schools; education; resources;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • N0 - Economic History - - General

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