Does School Autonomy Make Sense Everywhere? Panel Estimates from PISA
Eric A. Hanushek
Stanford University - Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)
CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research) - Ifo Institute for Economic Research; Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich
Ifo Institute for Economic Research; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research); University of Munich - Ifo Institute for Economic Research
November 29, 2011
CESifo Working Paper Series No. 3648
Decentralization of decision-making is among the most intriguing recent school reforms, in part because countries went in opposite directions over the past decade and because prior evidence is inconclusive. We suggest that autonomy may be conducive to student achievement in well-developed systems but detrimental in low-performing systems. We construct a panel dataset from the four waves of international PISA tests spanning 2000-2009, comprising over one million students in 42 countries. Relying on panel estimation with country fixed effects, we identify the effect of school autonomy from within-country changes in the average share of schools with autonomy over key elements of school operations. Our results show that autonomy affects student achievement negatively in developing and low-performing countries, but positively in developed and high-performing countries. These results are unaffected by a wide variety of robustness and specification tests, providing confidence in the need for nuanced application of reform ideas.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 49
Keywords: school autonomy, decentralization, developing countries, educational production, international student achievement tests, panel estimation
JEL Classification: I200, O150, H750, I250working papers series
Date posted: November 29, 2011
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