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Strategic grade retention

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  • Bach, Maximilian

Abstract

Most school systems grant teachers and school principals considerable discretion in grade retention decisions. This paper argues that schools can exploit this discretion by selectively retaining students to reduce class size which potentially has important implications for public spending on education and affected students. To this end, I build a model in which class size is subject to a class size cap, with teachers and school principals determining the share of students to be retained. This leads to a set of empirical predictions that can be tested with minimal data requirements. Testing these predictions using administrative data for German primary schools yields strong evidence of schools strategically using grade retention to reduce class size.

Suggested Citation

  • Bach, Maximilian, 2019. "Strategic grade retention," ZEW Discussion Papers 19-059, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:19059
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Argaw, Bethlehem A. & Puhani, Patrick A., 2018. "Does class size matter for school tracking outcomes after elementary school? Quasi-experimental evidence using administrative panel data from Germany," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 48-57.
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    5. Schwerdt, Guido & West, Martin R. & Winters, Marcus A., 2017. "The effects of test-based retention on student outcomes over time: Regression discontinuity evidence from Florida," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 152(C), pages 154-169.
    6. Jane Cooley Fruehwirth & Salvador Navarro & Yuya Takahashi, 2016. "How the Timing of Grade Retention Affects Outcomes: Identification and Estimation of Time-Varying Treatment Effects," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(4), pages 979-1021.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Grade retention; Class size; Incentives;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • I29 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Other

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