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European education production functions: what makes a difference for student achievement in Europe?

  • Ludger Wößmann

This paper estimates the effects of family background, resources, and institutions on student performance in 17 Western European school systems. Family background has a strong effect in Europe, remarkably similar in size to the United States. France and Flemish Belgium achieve the most equitable performance for students from different family backgrounds, and Britain and Germany the least. Equality of opportunities is unrelated to countries' mean performance. Quantile regressions show little variation in family-background effects across the ability distribution. There is little evidence of substantial class-size effects, but slight evidence of effects of material shortage and teacher experience in some countries. Stronger evidence exists for effects of within-country variations in schools' hiring autonomy, testing, and homework. Â

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File URL: http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/publications/publication862_en.pdf
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Paper provided by Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission in its series European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 with number 190.

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Length: 80 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:euf:ecopap:0190
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