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The effect of school resources on test scores in England


  • Cheti Nicoletti
  • Birgitta Rabe


We analyze the effect of school expenditure on children's test scores at age 16 by means of an education production model. By using unique register data of English pupils, we exploit the availability of test scores across time, subjects and siblings to control for various sources of input omission and measurement error bias. We overcome one of the main criticisms against the value-added model by proposing a novel method to control for the endogeneity of the lagged test. We find evidence of a positive but small effect of per pupil expenditure on test scores.

Suggested Citation

  • Cheti Nicoletti & Birgitta Rabe, 2012. "The effect of school resources on test scores in England," Discussion Papers 12/19, Department of Economics, University of York.
  • Handle: RePEc:yor:yorken:12/19

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bound, John & Krueger, Alan B, 1991. "The Extent of Measurement Error in Longitudinal Earnings Data: Do Two Wrongs Make a Right?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(1), pages 1-24, January.
    2. Tahir Andrabi & Jishnu Das & Asim Ijaz Khwaja & Tristan Zajonc, 2011. "Do Value-Added Estimates Add Value? Accounting for Learning Dynamics," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 29-54, July.
    3. Griliches, Zvi & Hausman, Jerry A., 1986. "Errors in variables in panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 93-118, February.
    4. Gibbons, Stephen & McNally, Sandra & Viarengo, Martina, 2011. "Does additional spending help urban schools? An evaluation using boundary discontinuities," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 44676, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. Alan B. Krueger, 1999. "Experimental Estimates of Education Production Functions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 497-532.
    6. Lorraine Dearden & Javier Ferri & Costas Meghir, 2002. "The Effect Of School Quality On Educational Attainment And Wages," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 1-20, February.
    7. Dan A. Black & Jeffrey A. Smith, 2006. "Estimating the Returns to College Quality with Multiple Proxies for Quality," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 701-728, July.
    8. Ashenfelter, Orley & Krueger, Alan B, 1994. "Estimates of the Economic Returns to Schooling from a New Sample of Twins," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1157-1173, December.
    9. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2008. "Formulating, Identifying and Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
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    Cited by:

    1. Gibbons, Stephen & Silva, Olmo & Weinhardt, Felix, 2014. "Neighbourhood Turnover and Teenage Attainment," IZA Discussion Papers 8381, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Nicoletti, Cheti & Rabe, Birgitta, 2014. "Sibling spillover effects in school achievement," ISER Working Paper Series 2014-40, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    3. Marie Hyland & Richard Layte & Seán Lyons & Selina McCoy & Mary Silles, 2015. "Are Classroom Internet Use and Academic Performance Higher after Government Broadband Subsidies to Primary Schools?," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 46(3), pages 399-428.
    4. Annemarie Künn-Nelen & Andries Grip & Didier Fouarge, 2015. "The Relation Between Maternal Work Hours and the Cognitive Development of Young School-Aged Children," De Economist, Springer, vol. 163(2), pages 203-232, June.
    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.

    More about this item


    Education production function; cognitive achievements; child development;

    JEL classification:

    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality

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