IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Does School Autonomy Make Sense Everywhere? Panel Estimates from PISA

  • Hanushek, Eric A.


    (Stanford University)

  • Link, Susanne


    (Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

  • Woessmann, Ludger


    (Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

Decentralization of decision-making is among the most intriguing recent school reforms, in part because countries went in opposite directions over the past decade and because prior evidence is inconclusive. We suggest that autonomy may be conducive to student achievement in well-developed systems but detrimental in low-performing systems. We construct a panel dataset from the four waves of international PISA tests spanning 2000-2009, comprising over one million students in 42 countries. Relying on panel estimation with country fixed effects, we identify the effect of school autonomy from within-country changes in the average share of schools with autonomy over key elements of school operations. Our results show that autonomy affects student achievement negatively in developing and low-performing countries, but positively in developed and high-performing countries. These results are unaffected by a wide variety of robustness and specification tests, providing confidence in the need for nuanced application of reform ideas.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6185.

in new window

Length: 50 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Development Economics, 2013, 104, 212-232
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6185
Contact details of provider: Postal: IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page:

Order Information: Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Ludger Woessmann & Elke Luedemann & Gabriela Schuetz & Martin R. West, 2009. "School Accountability, Autonomy and Choice Around the World," Books, Edward Elgar, number 13540, March.
  2. Alberto Alesina & Arnaud Devleeschauwer & William Easterly & Sergio Kurlat & Romain Wacziarg, 2002. "Fractionalization," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1959, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    • Wacziarg, Romain & Alesina, Alberto & Devleeschauwer, Arnaud & Easterly, William & Kurlat, Sergio, 2002. "Fractionalization," Research Papers 1744, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    • Alberto Alesina & Arnaud Devleeschauwer & William Easterly & Sergio Kurlat & Romain Wacziarg, 2003. "Fractionalization," NBER Working Papers 9411, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Alesina, Alberto & Devleeschauwer, Arnaud & Wacziarg, Romain & Kurlat, Sergio & Easterly, William, 2003. "Fractionalization," Scholarly Articles 4553003, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Gertler, Paul J. & Patrinos, Harry Anthony & Rubio-Codina, Marta, 2012. "Empowering parents to improve education: Evidence from rural Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 68-79.
  4. Philippe Aghion & Mathias Dewatripont & Caroline Hoxby & Andreu Mas-Colell & André Sapir, 2010. "The governance and performance of universities: Evidence from Europe and the US," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/167268, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  5. Brunello, Giorgio & Rocco, Lorenzo, 2013. "The effect of immigration on the school performance of natives: Cross country evidence using PISA test scores," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 234-246.
  6. Wallace E. Oates, 1999. "An Essay on Fiscal Federalism," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1120-1149, September.
  7. Victoria Gunnarsson & Peter F. Orazem & Mario A. Sánchez & Aimee Verdisco, 2009. "Does Local School Control Raise Student Outcomes? Evidence on the Roles of School Autonomy and Parental Participation," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58(1), pages 25-52, October.
  8. Wößmann, Ludger, 2003. "Schooling resources, educational institutions and student performance: The international evidence," Munich Reprints in Economics 19661, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  9. Hanushek, Eric A. & Wößmann, Ludger, . "The Economics of International Differences in Educational Achievement," Chapters in Economics, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  10. Hanushek, Eric A. & Wößmann, Ludger, 2008. "The role of cognitive skills in economic development," Munich Reprints in Economics 20454, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  11. Hoxby, Caroline M., 1999. "The productivity of schools and other local public goods producers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 1-30, October.
  12. Hanushek, Eric A. & Kain, John F. & Rivkin, Steven G. & Branch, Gregory F., 2007. "Charter school quality and parental decision making with school choice," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(5-6), pages 823-848, June.
  13. Thomas Fuchs & Ludger Woessmann, 2004. "What Accounts for International Differences in Student Performance? A Re-examination using PISA Data," Econometric Society 2004 Australasian Meetings 274, Econometric Society.
  14. Barankay, Iwan & Lockwood, Ben, 2006. "Decentralization and the Productive Efficiency of Government: Evidence from Swiss Cantons," CEPR Discussion Papers 5639, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Robert Bifulco & Helen F. Ladd, 2006. "The Impacts of Charter Schools on Student Achievement: Evidence from North Carolina," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 1(1), pages 50-90, January.
  16. Eric A. Hanushek, 2003. "The Failure of Input-Based Schooling Policies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(485), pages F64-F98, February.
  17. Galiani, Sebastian & Gertler, Paul & Schargrodsky, Ernesto, 2008. "School decentralization: Helping the good get better, but leaving the poor behind," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(10-11), pages 2106-2120, October.
  18. Felipe Barrera-Osorio & Tazeen Fasih & Harry Anthony Patrinos & Lucrecia Santibáñez, 2009. "Decentralized Decision-making in Schools : The Theory and Evidence on School-based Management," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2632.
  19. Behrman, Jere R. & King, Elizabeth M., 2001. "Household schooling behaviors and decentralization," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 321-341, August.
  20. Nechyba, Thomas J., 2002. "Centralization, Fiscal Federalism and Privte School Attendance," Working Papers 02-11, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  21. Figlio, David & Loeb, Susanna, 2011. "School Accountability," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
  22. John Bishop & Ludger Wossmann, 2004. "Institutional Effects in a Simple Model of Educational Production," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(1), pages 17-38.
  23. Eric A. Hanushek, 2002. "Publicly Provided Education," NBER Working Papers 8799, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Jimenez, Emmanuel & Sawada, Yasuyuki, 1999. "Do Community-Managed Schools Work? An Evaluation of El Salvador's EDUCO Program," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 13(3), pages 415-41, September.
  25. Booker, Kevin & Gilpatric, Scott M. & Gronberg, Timothy & Jansen, Dennis, 2007. "The impact of charter school attendance on student performance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(5-6), pages 849-876, June.
  26. Barbara Bruns & Deon Filmer & Harry Anthony Patrinos, 2011. "Making Schools Work : New Evidence on Accountability Reforms," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2270.
  27. Susanna Loeb & Katharine Strunk, 2007. "Accountability and Local Control: Response to Incentives with and without Authority over Resource Generation and Allocation," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 2(1), pages 10-39, January.
  28. Sebastian Galiani & Ricardo Perez-Truglia, 2013. "School Management in Developing Countries," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0147, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  29. Damon Clark, 2009. "The Performance and Competitive Effects of School Autonomy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(4), pages 745-783, 08.
  30. Bishop, John, 2006. "Drinking from the Fountain of Knowledge: Student Incentive to Study and Learn - Externalities, Information Problems and Peer Pressure," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6185. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.