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Good schools or good students? Evidence on school effects from universal random assignment of students to high schools

Author

Listed:
  • Paulo Bastos

    () (Development Research Group, The World Bank, United States)

  • Julian Cristia

    () (Research Department, Inter-American Development Bank, United States)

  • Beomsoo Kim

    () (Department of Economics, Korea University, Seoul, Republic of Korea)

Abstract

How much do schools differ in their effectiveness? Answering this question has been complicated by the selection of heterogeneous students into schools, which has made it difficult to distinguish between the influence of school inputs, student selection and peer effects. We exploit universal random assignment of students to high schools in certain areas of South Korea to provide clean estimates of the influence of school inputs. We find statistically significant differences across schools in the effects they have on scores in college entrance exams. However, school effects explain only 0.5% of the variation in learning outcomes in areas where students are randomized to schools. These results suggest that school inputs play a limited role in explaining variation in learning outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Paulo Bastos & Julian Cristia & Beomsoo Kim, 2016. "Good schools or good students? Evidence on school effects from universal random assignment of students to high schools," Discussion Paper Series 1607, Institute of Economic Research, Korea University.
  • Handle: RePEc:iek:wpaper:1607
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    File URL: http://econ.korea.ac.kr/~ri/WorkingPapers/w1607.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Pure school effects; sorting; peer effects; school inputs;

    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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