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Inside the Black Box of Class Size: Mechanisms, Behavioral Responses, and Social Background

Author

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  • Fredriksson, Peter

    () (Uppsala University)

  • Öckert, Björn

    () (IFAU)

  • Oosterbeek, Hessel

    () (University of Amsterdam)

Abstract

Studies on the effect of class size on student achievement typically find that disadvantaged students benefit more from reduced class size than others. To better understand this differential impact, we analyze changes in the learning environment due to class size, and behavioral responses to class size among parents, schools, teachers and students. The variation in class size is induced by a maximum class size rule applying to upper primary schools in Sweden. We find that in response to an increase in class size: i) teachers seem to assign more responsibility to students; ii) low-income students find their teachers hard to follow when taught in full-class iii) high-income parents help their children more with homework; iv) parents are more likely to change schools; and v) other school inputs and student effort adjust very little. These findings help explain why we find that the negative effect of class size on achievement in our data is concentrated among low-income students.

Suggested Citation

  • Fredriksson, Peter & Öckert, Björn & Oosterbeek, Hessel, 2014. "Inside the Black Box of Class Size: Mechanisms, Behavioral Responses, and Social Background," IZA Discussion Papers 8019, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8019
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Peter Fredriksson & Björn Öckert & Hessel Oosterbeek, 2016. "Parental Responses to Public Investments in Children: Evidence from a Maximum Class Size Rule," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 51(4), pages 832-868.
    2. Miguel Urquiola, 2015. "Progress and challenges in achieving an evidence-based education policy in Latin America and the Caribbean," Latin American Economic Review, Springer;Centro de Investigaciòn y Docencia Económica (CIDE), vol. 24(1), pages 1-30, December.
    3. Edwin Leuven & Sturla A. Løkken, 2020. "Long-Term Impacts of Class Size in Compulsory School," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 55(1), pages 309-348.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    heterogenous effects; social background; class size; regression discontinuity;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • 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
    • C31 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models; Quantile Regressions; Social Interaction Models

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