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The Effect of School Class Size on Post-Compulsory Education: Some Cost Benefit Analysis

  • Paul Bingley

    (Department of Economics, Aarhus School of Business, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark)

  • Vibeke Myrup Jensen

    (Department of Economics, Aarhus School of Business, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark)

  • Ian Walker

    (Department of Economics)

This paper is concerned with the relationship between class size and the student outcome – length of time in post-compulsory schooling. Research on this topic has been problematic partly because omitted unobservables, like parents’ incomes and education levels, are likely to be correlated with class size. Two potential ways to resolve this problem are to exploit either experimental or instrumental variation. In both cases, the methods require that the variation in both class size and the outcome should not be contaminated by other unobservable factors that affect the outcome – like family background. An alternative approach, which we pursue here, is to take advantage of variation in class size between siblings which allows unobservable family effects to be differenced out. Our aim is to combine sibling differences with a fuzzy rule that determines class size to provide estimates of the effect of class size and use these to conduct an evaluation of the costs and benefits of a reduction in class sizes.

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File URL: http://www.ucd.ie/geary/static/publications/workingpapers/GearyWp200717.pdf
File Function: First version, 2007
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Paper provided by Geary Institute, University College Dublin in its series Working Papers with number 200717.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: 08 Jun 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucd:wpaper:200717
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  1. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-75, March.
  2. Hanushek, Eric A., 2002. "Publicly provided education," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 30, pages 2045-2141 Elsevier.
  3. Ludger Wößmann & Martin R. West, 2002. "Class-Size Effects in School Systems Around the World: Evidence from Between-Grade Variation in TIMSS," Kiel Working Papers 1099, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  4. Eric A. Hanushek, 2003. "The Failure of Input-Based Schooling Policies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(485), pages F64-F98, February.
  5. Eskil Heinesen & Brian Krogh Graversen, 2005. "The effect of school resources on educational attainment: evidence from Denmark," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 109-143, 04.
  6. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1999. "Using Maimonides' Rule To Estimate The Effect Of Class Size On Scholastic Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 533-575, May.
  7. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2000. "The Effects Of Class Size On Student Achievement: New Evidence From Population Variation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1239-1285, November.
  8. Gunnar Isacsson, 2004. "Estimating the economic return to educational levels using data on twins," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(1), pages 99-119.
  9. Alan Krueger, 1997. "Experimental Estimates of Education Production Functions," Working Papers 758, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  10. Hahn, Jinyong & Todd, Petra & Van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2001. "Identification and Estimation of Treatment Effects with a Regression-Discontinuity Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 201-09, January.
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