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What Accounts for International Differences in Student Performance? A Re-Examination Using PISA Data

Author

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  • Fuchs, Thomas

    () (Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

  • Woessmann, Ludger

    () (Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

Abstract

We use the PISA student-level achievement database to estimate international education production functions. Student characteristics, family backgrounds, home inputs, resources, teachers and institutions are all significantly related to math, science and reading achievement. Our models account for more than 85% of the between-country performance variation, with roughly 25% accruing to institutional variation. Student performance is higher with external exams and budget formulation, but also with school autonomy in textbook choice, hiring teachers and within-school budget allocations. School autonomy is more beneficial in systems with external exit exams. Students perform better in privately operated schools, but private funding is not decisive.

Suggested Citation

  • Fuchs, Thomas & Woessmann, Ludger, 2004. "What Accounts for International Differences in Student Performance? A Re-Examination Using PISA Data," IZA Discussion Papers 1287, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1287
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    PISA; education production function; international variation in student performance; institutional effects in schooling;

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • L33 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Comparison of Public and Private Enterprise and Nonprofit Institutions; Privatization; Contracting Out

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