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Public expenditures, educational outcomes and grade inflation: Theory and evidence from a policy intervention in the Netherlands

  • De Witte, Kristof
  • Geys, Benny
  • Solondz, Catharina

Previous work on the relation between school inputs and students' educational attainment typically fails to account for the fact that schools can adjust their grading structure, even though such actions are likely to affect students' incentives. Our theoretical model shows that, depending on schools' and students' reactions to resource changes, the overall effect of spending on education outcomes is ambiguous. Schools, however, adjust their grading structure following resource shifts, such that grade inflation is likely to accompany resource-driven policies. Exploiting a quasi-experimental policy intervention in the Netherlands (where the grading system relies on both standardized central and schoollevel exams), we find that additional resources benefit educational attainment only when they are substantial, but induce grade inflation otherwise.

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Paper provided by Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in its series Discussion Papers, Research Professorship & Project "The Future of Fiscal Federalism" with number SP II 2012-111.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbfff:spii2012111
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