Estimating the Effect of School Time of Instruction on Student Achievements

Hebrew University Economics Working Paper No. 01-4

35 Pages Posted: 4 Nov 2001

See all articles by Victor Lavy

Victor Lavy

University of Warwick - Department of Economics; Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: August 2001

Abstract

The renewed focus on the importance of human capital for social development and economic growth, and the recently published evidence on wide international disparities in student achievements, have led to a new interest in the determinants of schooling quality. This paper evaluates the effect on student achievement of an important school input, schooling hours, and compares its effect and cost to that of class size. To overcome the fact that the levels of these inputs are functions of students' ability and past achievement, I use instrumental variables that are derived from two allocation rules that partly determine the level of weekly instruction hours and class size in Israeli primary schools. The instrumental variable results suggest that increasing instruction hours and reducing class size have significant effects on students' achievements. The OLS results, in contrast, show no (or perverse) effects of both inputs on achievement. The cost equivalent tradeoff between instruction hours and class size suggest that it is more cost effective, at the margin, to augment school time than to reduce class size. These results are relevant for assessing recent educational reforms in the U.S. and the U.K. that focus solely on class-size reduction.

Keywords: school time, class size, student achievements, causal identification

JEL Classification: I0, I2, J0, J3

Suggested Citation

Lavy, Victor, Estimating the Effect of School Time of Instruction on Student Achievements (August 2001). Hebrew University Economics Working Paper No. 01-4. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=288815 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.288815

Victor Lavy (Contact Author)

University of Warwick - Department of Economics ( email )

Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics ( email )

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, 91905
Israel
+972 2 588 3245 (Phone)
+972 2 581 6071 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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