Every Catholic Child in a Catholic School: Historical Resistance to State Schooling, Contemporary Private Competition, and Student Achievement Across Countries

37 Pages Posted: 25 Nov 2008  

Martin R. West

Harvard Graduate School of Education

Ludger Woessmann

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

Abstract

Nineteenth-Century Catholic doctrine strongly opposed state schooling. We show that countries with larger shares of Catholics in 1900 (but without a Catholic state religion) tend to have larger shares of privately operated schools even today. We use this historical pattern as a natural experiment to estimate the causal effect of contemporary private competition on student achievement in cross-country student-level analyses. Our results show that larger shares of privately operated schools lead to better student achievement in mathematics, science, and reading and to lower total education spending, even after controlling for current Catholic shares.

Keywords: private school competition, student achievement, Catholic schools

JEL Classification: I20, L33, N30, Z12

Suggested Citation

West, Martin R. and Woessmann, Ludger, Every Catholic Child in a Catholic School: Historical Resistance to State Schooling, Contemporary Private Competition, and Student Achievement Across Countries. IZA Discussion Paper No. 3818. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1305802 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0042-7092.2007.00700.x

Martin R. West (Contact Author)

Harvard Graduate School of Education ( email )

6 Appian Way
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Ludger Woessmann

Ifo Institute for Economic Research ( email )

Poschingerstr. 5
Munich
Germany
++49 89 9224 1699 (Phone)
++49 89 9224 1460 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.cesifo.de/link/woessmann_l.htm

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

University of Munich - Ifo Institute for Economic Research

Schackstr. 4
Munich, 80539
Germany

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