Aggregation and the Estimated Effects of School Resources

57 Pages Posted: 3 Jul 1996 Last revised: 1 Oct 2010

See all articles by Eric A. Hanushek

Eric A. Hanushek

Stanford University - Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Steven G. Rivkin

Amherst College - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Lori L. Taylor

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 1996

Abstract

This paper attempts to reconcile the contradictory findings in the debate over school resources and school effectiveness by highlighting the role of aggregation in the presence of omitted variables bias. While data aggregation for well-specified linear models yields unbiased parameter estimates, aggregation alters the magnitude of any omitted variables bias. In general, the theoretical impact of aggregation is ambiguous. In a very relevant special case where omitted variables relate to state differences in school policy, however, aggregation implies clear upward bias of estimated school resource effects. Analysis of High School and Beyond data provides strong evidence that aggregation inflates the coefficients on school resources. Moreover, the pattern of results is not consistent with an errors-in-variables explanation, the alternative explanation for the larger estimated impact with aggregate estimates. Since studies using aggregate data are much more likely to find positive school resource effects on achievement, these results provide further support to the view that additional expenditures alone are unlikely to improve student outcomes.

Suggested Citation

Hanushek, Eric A. and Rivkin, Steven G. and Taylor, Lori L., Aggregation and the Estimated Effects of School Resources (April 1996). NBER Working Paper No. w5548. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3124

Eric A. Hanushek (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305-6010
United States
650-736-0942 (Phone)
650-723-1687 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Steven G. Rivkin

Amherst College - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 5000
Amherst, MA 01002-5000
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Lori L. Taylor

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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