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The Headmaster Ritual: The Importance of Management for School Outcomes

  • Böhlmark, Anders

    ()

    (Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI))

  • Grönqvist, Erik

    ()

    (Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation (IFAU))

  • Vlachos, Jonas

    ()

    (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))

The role of school principals largely resembles that of corporate managers and the leadership they provide are often viewed as a crucial component for educational success. We estimate the impact of individual principals on various schooling outcomes, by constructing a principal-school panel data set that allows us to track individual principals as they move between schools. We find that individual principals have a substantive impact on school policies, working conditions and student outcomes. Particularly, students who attend a school with a one standard deviation better principal receive on average 0.12 standard deviations higher test scores. Despite having very rich background information on principals, it is difficult to determine which principal characteristics that form the basis for successful school management. We also find a somewhat mixed picture on what management style characterizes a successful principal. We further show that the scope for principal discretion – for better or for worse – is larger in small schools, in voucher schools and in areas with more school competition.

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Paper provided by Research Institute of Industrial Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 931.

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Length: 50 pages
Date of creation: 10 Oct 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0931
Contact details of provider: Postal: Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden
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Fax: +46 8 665 4599
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  1. Andersson, Christian & Waldenström, Nina, 2007. "Teacher certification and student achievement in Swedish compulsory schools," Working Paper Series 2007:6, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  2. Nicholas Bloom & Carol Propper & Stephan Seiler & John van Reenan, 2010. "The Impact of Competition on Management Quality: Evidence from Public Hospitals," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 10/237, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  3. Nicholas Bloom & Christos Genakos & Raffaella Sadun & John Van Reenen, 2012. "Management Practices Across Firms and Countries," NBER Working Papers 17850, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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