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Resources and Standards in Urban Schools

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  • Machin, Stephen

    (London School of Economics)

  • McNally, Sandra

    (University of Surrey)

  • Meghir, Costas

    (Yale University)

Abstract

Despite being central to government education policy in many countries, there remains considerable debate about whether resources matter for pupil outcomes. In this paper we look at this question by considering an English education policy initiative – Excellence in Cities – which has been a flagship policy aimed at raising standards in inner-city secondary schools. We report results showing a positive impact of the extra resources on school attendance and performance in Mathematics (though not for English) but, interestingly, there is a marked heterogeneity in the effectiveness of the policy. Its greatest impact has been in more disadvantaged schools and on the performance of middle and high ability students within these schools. A back-of-envelope cost-benefit calculation suggests the policy to be cost-effective. We conclude that additional resources can matter for children in the poorest secondary schools, particularly when building on a solid educational or ability background. However, small changes in resources have little or no effect on the ‘hard to reach’ children who have not achieved a sufficiently strong prior level.

Suggested Citation

  • Machin, Stephen & McNally, Sandra & Meghir, Costas, 2007. "Resources and Standards in Urban Schools," IZA Discussion Papers 2653, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2653
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Rodríguez-Planas, Núria, 2010. "Longer-Term Impacts of Mentoring, Educational Services, and Incentives to Learn: Evidence from a Randomized Trial," IZA Discussion Papers 4754, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Marina Bassi & Costas Meghir & Ana Reynoso, 2020. "Education Quality and Teaching Practices," The Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 130(631), pages 1937-1965.
    3. 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.
    4. Stephen Gibbons & Sandra McNally & Martina Viarengo, 2018. "Does Additional Spending Help Urban Schools? An Evaluation Using Boundary Discontinuities," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 16(5), pages 1618-1668.
    5. Gibbons, Stephen & Machin, Stephen & Silva, Olmo, 2013. "Valuing school quality using boundary discontinuity," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 45246, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    6. J Taylor & S Bradley & G Migali, 2009. "The distributional impact of increased school resources: the Specialist Schools Initiative and the Excellence in Cities Programme," Working Papers 602528, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    7. Nerea Gómez-Fernández & Mauro Mediavilla, 2018. "Do information and communication technologies (ICT) improve educational outcomes? Evidence for Spain in PISA 2015," Working Papers 2018/20, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    8. Stephen Machin & Sandra McNally & Gill Wyness, 2013. "Education in a Devolved Scotland: A Quantitative Analysis," CEP Reports 30, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    9. Kingdon, Geeta & Cassen, Robert, 2007. "Understanding low achievement in English schools," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 6222, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    10. 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.
    11. Cook, Will, 2021. "Does funding targeted at improving the management of schools increase school performance over the long term?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 204(C).
    12. Gjefsen, Hege Marie, 2020. "Wages, teacher recruitment, and student achievement," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(C).
    13. Steve Bradley & Jim Taylor, 2010. "Diversity, Choice and the Quasi‐market: An Empirical Analysis of Secondary Education Policy in England," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 72(1), pages 1-26, February.
    14. Helena Holmlund & Olmo Silva, 2014. "Targeting Noncognitive Skills to Improve Cognitive Outcomes: Evidence from a Remedial Education Intervention," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(2), pages 126-160.
    15. Gibbons, Stephen & Machin, Stephen & Silva, Olmo, 2013. "Valuing school quality using boundary discontinuities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 15-28.
    16. Rafael De Hoyos & Orazio Attanasio & Costas Meghir, 2019. "Targeting High School Scholarships to the Poor: The Impact of a Program in Mexico," NBER Working Papers 26023, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Meg Elkins & Simon Feeny & David Prentice, 2015. "Do Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers reduce poverty and improve well-being?," Discussion Papers 15/02, University of Nottingham, School of Economics.
    18. 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.
    19. Gómez-Fernández, Nerea & Mediavilla, Mauro, 2021. "Exploring the relationship between Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and academic performance: A multilevel analysis for Spain," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 77(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    resources; evaluation; disadvantage; education;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • C52 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Evaluation, Validation, and Selection

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