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Class size effects: evidence using a new estimation technique


  • Kevin Denny

    (School of Economics, University College Dublin)

  • Veruska Oppedisano

    (Department of Economics, University College London)


This paper estimates the marginal effect of class size on educational attainment of high school students. We control for the potential endogeneity of class size in two ways using a conventional instrumental variable approach, based on changes in cohort size, and an alternative method where identification is based on restriction on higher moments. The data is drawn from the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) collected in 2003 for the United States and the United Kingdom. Using either method or the two in conjunction leads to the conclusion that increases in class size lead to improvements in student’s mathematics scores. Only the results for the United Kingdom are statistically significant.

Suggested Citation

  • Kevin Denny & Veruska Oppedisano, 2010. "Class size effects: evidence using a new estimation technique," Working Papers 201051, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucd:wpaper:201051

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde & Jürgen Schupp & Gert G. Wagner, 2011. "Individual Risk Attitudes: Measurement, Determinants, And Behavioral Consequences," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 522-550, June.
    2. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde & Jürgen Schupp & Gert G. Wagner, 2005. "Individual Risk Attitudes: New Evidence from a Large, Representative, Experimentally-Validated Survey," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 511, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    3. Guiso, Luigi & Paiella, Monica, 2004. "The Role of Risk Aversion in Predicting Individual Behaviours," CEPR Discussion Papers 4591, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. David A. Jaeger & Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde & Holger Bonin, 2010. "Direct Evidence on Risk Attitudes and Migration," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(3), pages 684-689, August.
    5. Cary Deck & Jungmin Lee & Javier Reyes, 2008. "Risk attitudes in large stake gambles: evidence from a game show," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(1), pages 41-52.
    6. repec:feb:framed:0019 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Class Sizes Revisited: Denny and Oppedisano
      by Liam Delaney in The Irish Economy on 2010-12-08 04:29:20
    2. New evidence on class size effects
      by Kevin Denny in Geary Behaviour Centre on 2010-12-07 19:58:00


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    Cited by:

    1. Vinod Mishra & Russell Smyth, 2012. "Returns to Schooling in Urban China: New Evidence Using Heteroskedasticity Restrictions to Obtain Identification Without Exclusion Restrictions," Monash Economics Working Papers 33-12, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    2. Vinod Mishra & Russell Smyth, 2014. "It pays to be happy (if you are a man): Subjective wellbeing and the gender wage gap in Urban China," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 35(3), pages 392-414, May.
    3. repec:eee:ecoedu:v:58:y:2017:i:c:p:108-122 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Vinod Mishra & Russell Smyth, 2013. "Are more senior academics really more research productive than junior academics? Evidence from Australian law schools," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 96(2), pages 411-425, August.
    5. Stephen Gibbons & Sandra McNally, 2013. "The Effects of Resources Across School Phases: A Summary of Recent Evidence," CEP Discussion Papers dp1226, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.

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    class sizes; educational production;

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