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Identifying Class Size Effects in Developing Countries: Evidence from Rural Schools in Bolivia

39 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2001  

Miguel S. Urquiola

Columbia University - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences - Department of Economics

Date Written: November 2001

Abstract

Do smaller classes raise test scores? Evidence from rural schools in Bolivia suggests that they do.

Although class size has attracted great interest as a policy instrument, inferences on its effects are controversial. Recent work highlights a particular way to consider the endogeneity issues that affect this variable: class size is often correlated with enrollment, which may in turn be related to socioeconomic status.

In Bolivia, Urquiola shows, these correlations are significant. Building from institutional arrangements that determine pupil-teacher ratios in rural areas, the author implements two research designs to deal with this issue. The first uses a teacher allocation pattern as an instrumental variable; the second relies on variation from remote schools with a single class per grade. Both suggest that class size has a negative effect on test scores.

This paper - a product of Public Services for Human Development, Development Research Group - is part of a larger effort in the group to explore ways to improve service delivery in education, health, and social protection. The author may be contacted at mu26@cornell.edu.

JEL Classification: J0, I2, O1

Suggested Citation

Urquiola, Miguel S., Identifying Class Size Effects in Developing Countries: Evidence from Rural Schools in Bolivia (November 2001). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 2711. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=255921

Miguel S. Urquiola (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences - Department of Economics ( email )

420 W. 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States

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