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The Effect of Measured School Inputs on Academic Achievement: Evidence from the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s Birth Cohorts

Susanna Loeb and John Bound

No 5331, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: The study presented here uses data from the NORC General Social Surveys to explore the effects of measurable school characteristics on student achievement. What separates this study from many others is the use of aggregate data on older cohorts, usually associated with research on the influence of school inputs on earnings. Earnings studies have tended to find substantial effects, while much of the research on achievement using contemporary, cross-sectional data has not. We find substantively large effects, similar in size to those found in many earnings-focused studies. In this way, our results point to the importance of aggregation and cohort effects in modeling the relationship between school inputs and student outcomes. The level of data aggregation, in particular, appears important, bringing into question causal interpretations of the results of studies using aggregate data to assess school input effects.

JEL-codes: I20 J31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 1995-11
Note: LS
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Published as Loeb, Susanna & Bound, John, 1996. "The Effect of Measured School Inputs on Academic Achievement: Evidence form the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s Birth Cohorts," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(4), pages 653-64, November.

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