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Smart but unhappy: Independent-school competition and the wellbeing-efficiency trade-off in education

Heller-Sahlgren, Gabriel

Economics of Education Review, 2018, vol. 62, issue C, 66-81

Abstract: We study whether independent-school competition involves a trade-off between pupil wellbeing and academic performance. To test this hypothesis, we analyse data covering pupils across the OECD, exploiting historical Catholic opposition to state schooling for exogenous variation in independent-school enrolment shares. We find that independent-school competition decreases pupil wellbeing but raises achievement and lowers educational costs. Our analysis and balancing tests indicate these findings are causal. In addition, we find several mechanisms behind the trade-off, including more traditional teaching and stronger parental achievement pressure.

Keywords: Independent-school competition; Human capital; Wellbeing-efficiency trade-off (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I20 L33 I31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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