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Educational resources and student achievement: Evidence from the Save Harmless provision in New York State

Philip Gigliotti and Lucy C. Sorensen

Economics of Education Review, 2018, vol. 66, issue C, 167-182

Abstract: A long-standing debate in the economics of education literature is whether increasing educational resources moves the needle on student achievement. Education finance reformers advocate delivering extra resources to disadvantaged school districts to close academic achievement gaps, but their efforts are subject to criticism from skeptics who believe that extra resources do not actually improve performance. This study leverages variation in per-pupil expenditures from a specific provision of the state aid formula in New York State that allows districts to maintain prior levels of total state aid even as their student enrollment declines. We uncover achievement gains of approximately 0.047 standard deviations in math and 0.042 standard deviations in English corresponding to $1000 in additional per-pupil spending. This study strengthens the case that school resources matter, and that sustained financial investments can help districts maintain and improve quality of public education.

JEL-codes: I22 C36 H75 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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