IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/8875.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Economic Considerations and Class Size

Author

Listed:
  • Alan B. Krueger

Abstract

This paper examines evidence on the effect of class size on student achievement. First, it is shown that results of quantitative summaries of the literature, such as Hanushek (1997), depend critically on whether studies are accorded equal weight. Hanushek summarizes 277 estimates extracted from 59 published studies, and weights all estimates equally, which implicitly places more weight on some studies than others. A small number of studies, which often present estimates for several small subsamples of a larger sample, account for more than half of the estimates. Studies from which relatively many estimates were extracted tend to find negative effects of school resources, whereas the majority of studies from which relatively few estimates were extracted tend to find positive effects. When all studies in Hanushek's literature summary are given equal weight, resources are systematically related to student achievement. In addition, when studies are assigned weights in proportion to the 'impact factor' of the journal in which they were published -- a crude measure of journal quality -- class size is systematically related to achievement. When studies are given weights in proportion to their number of estimates, however, resources and achievement are not systematically related. It is argued that assigning equal weights to studies, or weights according to quality, is preferable to assigning weights according to the number of estimates extracted from the studies, because study quality is unlikely to be related to the number of estimates taken from the study, and because researcher discretion in selecting estimates is limited when studies are assigned equal weight. Second, a cost-benefit analysis of class size reduction is performed. Results of the Tennessee STAR class-size experiment suggest that the internal rate of return from reducing class size from 22 to 15 students is around 6%.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan B. Krueger, 2002. "Economic Considerations and Class Size," NBER Working Papers 8875, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8875
    Note: CH LS PE ED
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w8875.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Kiesling, Herbert J., 1984. "Assignment practices and the relationship of instructional time to the reading performance of elementary school children," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 341-350, August.
    2. Alan B. Krueger, 1999. "Experimental Estimates of Education Production Functions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 497-532.
    3. Sengupta, Jati K. & Sfeir, Raymond E., 1986. "Production frontier estimates of scale in public schools in California," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 297-307, June.
    4. Hanushek, Eric A, 1989. "Expenditures, Efficiency, and Equity in Education: The Federal Government's Role," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 46-51, May.
    5. John Cawley & Karen Conneely & James Heckman & Edward Vytlacil, 1996. "Cognitive Ability, Wages, and Meritocracy," NBER Working Papers 5645, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Stern, David, 1989. "Educational cost factors and student achievement in grades 3 and 6: Some new evidence," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 149-158, April.
    7. Eric A. Hanushek, "undated". "The Evidence on Class Size," Wallis Working Papers WP10, University of Rochester - Wallis Institute of Political Economy.
    8. Link, Charles R. & Mulligan, James G., 1986. "The merits of a longer school day," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 373-381, August.
    9. Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1992. "Does School Quality Matter? Returns to Education and the Characteristics of Public Schools in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 1-40, February.
    10. Eric A. Hanushek, 1982. "Throwing money at schools," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 1(1), pages 19-41.
    11. Hanushek, Eric A., 2006. "School Resources," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    12. Edward P. Lazear, 1999. "Educational Production," NBER Working Papers 7349, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Janet Currie & Duncan Thomas, 1999. "Early Test Scores, Socioeconomic Status and Future Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 6943, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Neal, Derek A & Johnson, William R, 1996. "The Role of Premarket Factors in Black-White Wage Differences," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 869-895, October.
    15. Link, Charles R. & Mulligan, James G., 1991. "Classmates' effects on black student achievement in public school classrooms," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 297-310, December.
    16. Krueger, Alan B & Whitmore, Diane M, 2001. "The Effect of Attending a Small Class in the Early Grades on College-Test Taking and Middle School Test Results: Evidence from Project STAR," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(468), pages 1-28, January.
    17. 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.
    18. Card, David, 1999. "The causal effect of education on earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 30, pages 1801-1863 Elsevier.
    19. Montmarquette, Claude & Mahseredjian, Sophie, 1989. "Does School Matter for Educational Achievement? A Two-Way Nested-Error Components Analysis," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 4(2), pages 181-193, April-Jun.
    20. Hanushek, Eric A, 1986. "The Economics of Schooling: Production and Efficiency in Public Schools," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 1141-1177, September.
    21. Eric A. Hanushek, 2003. "The Failure of Input-Based Schooling Policies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(485), pages 64-98, February.
    22. Edward P. Lazear, 2001. "Educational Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(3), pages 777-803.
    23. repec:fth:prinin:427 is not listed on IDEAS
    24. James Heckman & Anne Layne-Farrar & Petra Todd, 1995. "The Schooling Quality-Earnings Relationship: Using Economic Theory to Interpret Functional Forms Consistent with the Evidence," NBER Working Papers 5288, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    25. Summers, Anita A & Wolfe, Barbara L, 1977. "Do Schools Make a Difference?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(4), pages 639-652, September.
    26. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1997. "Using Maimonides' Rule to Estimate the Effect of Class Size on Student Achievement," NBER Working Papers 5888, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    27. T. D. Stanley, 2001. "Wheat from Chaff: Meta-analysis as Quantitative Literature Review," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 131-150, Summer.
    28. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1999. "Using Maimonides' Rule to Estimate the Effect of Class Size on Scholastic Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 533-575.
    29. Hanushek, E.A.omson, W., 1996. "Assessing the Effects of School Resources on Student Performance : An Update," RCER Working Papers 424, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8875. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.