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The Distributional Impacts of a Universal School Reform on Mathematical Achievements: a Natural Experiment from Canada (revised)


  • Catherine Haeck
  • Pierre Lefebvre
  • Philip Merrigan


We investigate the impact of an ambitious provincial school reform in Canada on students’ mathematical achievements. It is the first paper to exploit a universal school reform of this magnitude to identify the causal effect of a widely supported teaching approach on students’ math scores. Our data set allows us to differentiate impacts according to the number of years of treatment and the timing of treatment. Using the changes-in-changes model, we find that the reform had negative effects on students’ scores at al points on the skills distribution and that the effects were larger the longer the exposure to the reform.

Suggested Citation

  • Catherine Haeck & Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan, 2011. "The Distributional Impacts of a Universal School Reform on Mathematical Achievements: a Natural Experiment from Canada (revised)," Cahiers de recherche 1135, CIRPEE.
  • Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:1135

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Thomas Fuchs & Ludger Wößmann, 2007. "What accounts for international differences in student performance? A re-examination using PISA data," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 433-464, May.
    2. repec:spr:portec:v:1:y:2002:i:2:d:10.1007_s10258-002-0010-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Richard Blundell & Monica Costa Dias, 2009. "Alternative Approaches to Evaluation in Empirical Microeconomics," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(3).
    4. Lefebvre, Pierre & Merrigan, Philip & Verstraete, Matthieu, 2011. "Public subsidies to private schools do make a difference for achievement in mathematics: Longitudinal evidence from Canada," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 79-98, February.
    5. Black, Philip & Calitz, Estian & Steenekamp, Tjaart & Siebrits, Krige (ed.), 2011. "Public Economics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, edition 5, number 9780195995152, June.
    6. Murnane, Richard J & Willett, John B & Levy, Frank, 1995. "The Growing Importance of Cognitive Skills in Wage Determination," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(2), pages 251-266, May.
    7. Ingram, Beth F. & Neumann, George R., 2006. "The returns to skill," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 35-59, February.
    8. Richard J. Murnane & John B. Willett & Yves Duhaldeborde & John H. Tyler, 2000. "How important are the cognitive skills of teenagers in predicting subsequent earnings?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(4), pages 547-568.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Fungerar friare, icke-traditionell matematikundervisning bättre?
      by bergh in Berghs Betraktelser on 2014-04-24 15:05:26

    More about this item


    School reform; Math achievements; DID and CIC estimators;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

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