Maimonides Rule Redux

42 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2017

See all articles by Joshua D. Angrist

Joshua D. Angrist

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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)

Jetson Leder-Luis

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Adi Shany

Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Date Written: June 2017

Abstract

We use the discontinuous function of enrollment known as Maimonides Rule as an instrument for class size in large Israeli samples from 2002-2011. As in the 1991 data analyzed by Angrist and Lavy (1999), Maimonides Rule still has a strong first stage. In contrast with the earlier Israeli estimates, however, Maimonides-based instrumental variables estimates using more recent data show no effect of class size on achievement. The new data also reveal substantial enrollment sorting near Maimonides cutoffs, with too many schools having enrollment values that just barely produce an extra class. A modified rule that uses data on students’ birthdays to compute statutory enrollment in the absence of enrollment manipulation also generates a precisely estimated zero. In older data, the original Maimonides Rule is unrelated to socioeconomic characteristics, while in more recent data, the original rule is unrelated to socioeconomic characteristics conditional on a few controls. Enrollment manipulation therefore appears to be innocuous: neither the original negative effects nor the recent data zeros seem likely to be manipulation artifacts.

Suggested Citation

Angrist, Joshua and Lavy, Victor and Leder-Luis, Jetson and Shany, Adi, Maimonides Rule Redux (June 2017). NBER Working Paper No. w23486. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2984663

Joshua Angrist (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )

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Victor Lavy

University of Warwick - Department of Economics ( email )

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Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics ( email )

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Jetson Leder-Luis

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )

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Adi Shany

Hebrew University of Jerusalem ( email )

Jerusalem

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