Class Size and the Regression Discontinuity Design: The Case of Public Schools

39 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2010

See all articles by Danny Cohen-Zada

Danny Cohen-Zada

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev - Department of Economics

Mark Gradstein

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Ehud Reuven

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Abstract

Using a rich individual-level dataset on secondary public schools in Israel, we find strong evidence for discontinuities in the relationship between enrollment and household characteristics at cutoff points induced by a maximum class size rule. Our findings extend existing work that documents such discontinuities only among private schools (Urquiola and Verhoogen, 2009). These discontinuities violate the assumptions underlying the regression discontinuity design, which are crucial for identification. Consequently, IV estimates of class size effects are likely to be seriously biased. Potential manipulation of the treatment assignment rule by public schools warrants caution in applying a regression discontinuity design to estimate class size effects and indicates that institutional context is crucial for its scope of applicability.

Keywords: regression discontinuity design, class size

JEL Classification: I20

Suggested Citation

Cohen-Zada, Danny and Gradstein, Mark and Reuven, Ehud, Class Size and the Regression Discontinuity Design: The Case of Public Schools. IZA Discussion Paper No. 4679, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1533972 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1533972

Danny Cohen-Zada (Contact Author)

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev - Department of Economics ( email )

Beer-Sheva 84105
Israel

Mark Gradstein

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev - Department of Economics ( email )

Beer-Sheva 84105
Israel
+97 2 8647 2288 (Phone)
+97 2 8647 2941 (Fax)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.cesifo.de

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Ehud Reuven

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

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