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Disruption, Achievement and the Heterogeneous Benefits of Smaller Classes

  • Graham J. McKee
  • Steven G. Rivkin
  • Katharine R.E. Sims

With few exceptions, empirical research investigating the possibility of heterogeneous benefits of class size reduction lacks a conceptual framework about specific dimensions of potential heterogeneity. In this paper we develop a model of education production that incorporates disruption and student achievement and illustrates how these underlying sources of variation may drive heterogeneity in the benefits of class size reductions. We test for results consistent with this model using the Tennessee STAR data. The estimates show that students in higher poverty schools and with greater learning aptitude realize larger benefits from smaller classes.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15812.

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Date of creation: Mar 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15812
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  1. Babcock, Philip & Betts, Julian R., 2009. "Reduced-class distinctions: Effort, ability, and the education production function," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 314-322, May.
  2. Djebbari, Habiba & Smith, Jeffrey A., 2008. "Heterogeneous Impacts in PROGRESA," IZA Discussion Papers 3362, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Alan Krueger & Diane Whitmore, 2000. "The Effect of Attending a Small Class in the Early Grades on College-Test Taking and Middle School Test Results: Evidence from Project STAR," NBER Working Papers 7656, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Ma, Lingjie & Koenker, Roger, 2006. "Quantile regression methods for recursive structural equation models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 134(2), pages 471-506, October.
  5. Koenker,Roger, 2005. "Quantile Regression," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521845731, September.
  6. Farshid Vahid & Pushkar Maitra, 2006. "The effect of household characteristics on living standards in South Africa 1993-1998: a quantile regression analysis with sample attrition," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(7), pages 999-1018.
  7. Weili Ding & Steven Lehrer, 2005. "Class Size and Student Achievement: Experimental Estimates of Who Benefits and Who Loses from Reductions," Working Papers 1046, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  8. Sergio Firpo, 2007. "Efficient Semiparametric Estimation of Quantile Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(1), pages 259-276, 01.
  9. Jesse Levin, 2001. "For whom the reductions count: A quantile regression analysis of class size and peer effects on scholastic achievement," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 221-246.
  10. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2000. "The Effects of Class Size on Student Achievement: New Evidence from Population Variation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1239-1285.
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