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The Effects of Class Size on Education and Earnings

Date: 9 December 2009 Time: 12.30 - 2.00 p.m.

Venue: A040 County South

Department of Educational Research Seminar Series. Everyone welcome.

Ian Walker

Economics Department, LUMS.

The Effects of Class Size on Education and Earnings

This paper is concerned with the relationship between school class size and student outcomes. Research on this topic has been problematic partly because omitted unobservables, like parents' incomes, attitudes and backgrounds, are likely to be correlated with class size. The data is the population of Danish schoolchildren where we can match each child to siblings, parents, peers, and schools. The identification method we pursue is to take advantage of variation in class size between siblings (which allows unobservable family effects to be differenced out) together with an administrative rule that determines class size and show how this allows us to embrace previous estimation methods. We find, on average, small precisely estimated effects of size. However, because we have more than half a million sibling differences we can exploit the richness of our data to examine how class size affects different sorts of siblings. We find large effects of class size on large sibships and on closely spaced sibships and argue that our estimates are consistent with parents taking actions to compensate for class size variation. Indeed, if parents fully compensated for class size variation then we would observe no class size effect.

This is a joint work with Paul Bingley & Vibeke Jenses (SFI, Copenhagen)

For further information please contact Dee Daglish,

Powerpoint presentation:


Who can attend: Anyone


Further information

Organising departments and research centres: Economics, Educational Research


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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University
Lancaster LA1 4YD
United Kingdom

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