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Long-Term Effects of School Size on Students' Outcomes

  • Humlum, Maria Knoth

    ()

    (Aarhus University)

  • Smith, Nina

    ()

    (Aarhus University)

We estimate the effect of school size on students' long-term outcomes such as high school completion, being out of the labor market, and earnings at the age of 30. We use rich register data on the entire population of Danish children attending grade 9 in the period 1986-2004. This allows us to compare the results of different fixed effect and instrumental variables estimators. We use the natural population variation in the residential catchment areas and school openings and closures to instrument for actual school size. We find a robust positive but numerically fairly small relationship between school size and alternative measures of long-term success in the educational system and the labor market. The positive impact of school size seems mainly to be driven by boys, students from families with a low educational level and students attending schools in urban areas.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 8032.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8032
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  1. Heinesen, Eskil, 2005. "School district size and student educational attainment: evidence from Denmark," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 677-689, December.
  2. Foreman-Peck, James & Foreman-Peck, Lorraine, 2006. "Should schools be smaller? The size-performance relationship for Welsh schools," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 157-171, April.
  3. Walsh, Patrick, 2010. "Is parental involvement lower at larger schools?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 959-970, December.
  4. Leung, Ambrose & Ferris, J. Stephen, 2008. "School size and youth violence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 318-333, February.
  5. Jones, John T. & Toma, Eugenia F. & Zimmer, Ron W., 2008. "School attendance and district and school size," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 140-148, April.
  6. Dee, Thomas S., 2004. "Are there civic returns to education?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1697-1720, August.
  7. Schwartz, Amy Ellen & Stiefel, Leanna & Wiswall, Matthew, 2013. "Do small schools improve performance in large, urban districts? Causal evidence from New York City," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 27-40.
  8. Andrews, Matthew & Duncombe, William & Yinger, John, 2002. "Revisiting economies of size in American education: are we any closer to a consensus?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 245-262, June.
  9. Janet Currie & Enrico Moretti, 2003. "Mother'S Education And The Intergenerational Transmission Of Human Capital: Evidence From College Openings," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1495-1532, November.
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