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

Author

Listed:
  • 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)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Bingley & Vibeke Myrup Jensen & Ian Walker, 2007. "The Effect of School Class Size on Post-Compulsory Education: Some Cost Benefit Analysis," Working Papers 200717, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucd:wpaper:200717
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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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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Alan B. Krueger, 1999. "Experimental Estimates of Education Production Functions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 497-532.
    2. Wo[ss]mann, Ludger & West, Martin, 2006. "Class-size effects in school systems around the world: Evidence from between-grade variation in TIMSS," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 695-736, April.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-475, March.
    6. 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, April.
    7. 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.
    8. Eric A. Hanushek, 2003. "The Failure of Input-Based Schooling Policies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(485), pages 64-98, February.
    9. 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 201-209, January.
    10. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Peter Fredriksson & Björn Öckert & Hessel Oosterbeek, 2013. "Long-Term Effects of Class Size," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(1), pages 249-285.
    2. Christopher Jepsen, 2015. "Class size: Does it matter for student achievement?," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 190-190, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    class size; regression discontinuity; sibling differences;

    JEL classification:

    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models

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