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The Impact of a Primary School Reform on Educational Stratification: A Norwegian Study of Neighbour and School Mate Correlations

  • Raaum, Oddbjørn

    ()

    (Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research)

  • Salvanes, Kjell G.

    ()

    (Norwegian School of Economics)

  • Sørensen, Erik Ø.

    ()

    (Norwegian School of Economics)

School quality is hard to define and measure. It is influenced by not only school expenditures, but also characteristics that are hard to measure like norms and peer effects among teachers and pupils. Furthermore, family background and community characteristics are important in explaining educational outcomes. In this paper we study the composite effect of primary schools and neighbourhoods on adult educational attainment controlling for family characteristics. Instead of identifying the effect of specific neighbourhood and school characteristics on educational attainment, we focus on correlations in final years of schooling among neighbouring children and school mates. We find a clear trend of declining influence of childhood location over the 24 year period (birth cohorts 1947-1970). Then we ask whether a change in the compulsory school law extending the mandatory years of education, can explain this pattern. We find some effect of the primary school reform on the change in the neighbourhood effect. Motivated by the fact that neighbouring children typically go to the same school, we estimate school mate correlations for children born in the 1960s. The overall impact of factors shared by children who graduated from the same school at the age of 15/16 is negligible. The variation in “school quality” and the impact of peers on final educational attainment seem to have been very limited in Norway.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 953.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Swedish Economic Policy Review, 2003, 10 (2), 143-170
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp953
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  1. Alan Krueger, 2000. "Economic Considerations and Class Size," Working Papers 826, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  2. Eric A. Hanushek, 2002. "The Failure of Input-based Schooling Policies," NBER Working Papers 9040, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Peer Effects in the Classroom: Learning from Gender and Race Variation," NBER Working Papers 7867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Lorraine Dearden & Javier Ferri & Costas Meghir, 2002. "The Effect Of School Quality On Educational Attainment And Wages," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 1-20, February.
  5. Pischke, Jörn-Steffen, 2003. "The Impact of Length of the School Year on Student Performance and Earnings: Evidence from the German Short School Years," IZA Discussion Papers 874, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Philip Oreopoulos, 2006. "The compelling effects of compulsory schooling: evidence from Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 39(1), pages 22-52, February.
  7. Costas Meghir & MÃ¥rten Palme, 2003. "Ability, parental background and educational policy: empirical evidence from a social experiment," IFS Working Papers W03/05, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  8. Marianne E. Page & Gary Solon, 2003. "Correlations between Brothers and Neighboring Boys in Their Adult Earnings: The Importance of Being Urban," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(4), pages 831-856, October.
  9. Dustmann, Christian & Rajah, Najma & van Soest, Arthur, 2002. "Class Size, Education and Wages," CEPR Discussion Papers 3397, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Aakvik, Arild & Salvanes, Kjell G & Vaage, Kjell, 2003. "Measuring Heterogeneity in the Returns to Education in Norway Using Educational Reforms," CEPR Discussion Papers 4088, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Lance Lochner & Enrico Moretti, 2004. "The Effect of Education on Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates, Arrests, and Self-Reports," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 155-189, March.
  12. Gary Solon & Marianne E. Page & Greg J. Duncan, 2000. "Correlations Between Neighboring Children In Their Subsequent Educational Attainment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(3), pages 383-392, August.
  13. Donna Ginther & Robert Haveman & Barbara Wolfe, 2000. "Neighborhood Attributes as Determinants of Children's Outcomes: How Robust Are the Relationships?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(4), pages 603-642.
  14. Bratberg, Espen & Nilsen, Øivind Anti & Vaage, Kjell, 2003. "Assessing Changes in Intergenerational Earnings Mobility," IZA Discussion Papers 797, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Betts, Julian R, 1996. "Do School Resources Matter Only for Older Workers?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(4), pages 638-52, November.
  16. Oddbjørn Raaum & Kjell G. Salvanes & Erik O. Sørensen, 2006. "The Neighbourhood is Not What it Used to be," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(508), pages 200-222, 01.
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